Five thousand Indonesian Families Enjoy Home-produced Gas and Fertilizer

Jakarta, 17 July 2012. The rural communities in Indonesia are now shifting to biogas for their domestic energy need. The BIRU digester processes simple raw materials as cattle manure and water in a anaerobic chamber and convert them into fuel for cooking and lighting of the family’s everyday use. The fermented manure, known as bio-slurry, can later be used as organic fertilizer. Having a BIRU digester in their backyard, around 5,500 families in the province of West Java, East Java, Central java, Yogyakarta, East Nusa Tenggara, West Nusa Tenggara and South Sulawesi can now enjoy gas and fertilizer at any time.

The Indonesian Domestic Biogas Programme or also more well known as BIRU programme, is an initiative managed by Hivos, a Dutch development organization and SNV, and works closely with the Ministry of Energy and Mineral Resources. “The BIRU program reflects a multi-actor movement to synergize in term of management of renewable energy and energy conservation initiatives,” said Robert de Groot, the IDBP Programme Manager.

Many people in rural areas in Indonesia have limited access to energy sources that are economical and convenient to use. For various reasons, the energy services provided by government or private sector are difficult to access by people who live in remote areas. If accessible, the community – especially the poor – burdened by the costly price of services, making them even more vulnerable.

The creation of an energy independent community is indeed one of the ideals of Hivos. Groot adds, “Hivos supports initiatives that promote the use natural resources sustainably. The biogas or processed cow manure also provides opportunities for rural communities to reduce expenses and gain a better income. ”
For some families, building a biogas digester proved a blessing in itself. Like Tatok Suparno and Wiji Hastuti, a couple from the village of Pendem, Karanganyar district, Central Java, who own a sidewalk-food stall. Since using biogas, they can save money. “To cook all the ingredients for the food stalls, we use 3-kg cylinder of LPG which usually run out after 2 or 3 days. Not to mention sometimes LPG is hard to get; at times, I must go far to buy it, “said Tatok, the 5000th BIRU digester user.

The BIRU programme started in May 2009 and is targeting the construction of 8,000 domestic biogas digester units in eight provinces in Indonesia until the end of 2012. As of the date of July 15, 2012, the number of BIRU digester built has reached more than 5,600 units. The BIRU programme partners with 35 construction partners and has trained around 550 masons and 100 supervisors.

23 July 2012