Chemical fertilisers are mostly used by farmers to increase agriculture or plantation products. Despite the benefits, chemical fertilisers can cause environmental damage, too, by contributing to greenhouse gas effect that contributes to global warming.
The fact had encouraged Dr. Agus Kuncaka, DEA, Chemistry Department teaching staff of Universitas Gadjah Mada, to make a breakthrough, namely biochar-based fertilisers or charcoal processed from biomass pyrolyse that contains paramagnetic compound that can absorb proteins. The biochar content named as Slow Release Organic Paramagnetic (SROP) not only improves physical, chemical and soil biology nature, but also absorps carbon in the air,” he said recently on campus.
As already known, there are allegations spreading in some countries in Europe and the U.S. that Indonesia’s palm oil industry has contributed much to carbon emissions coming from peatlands and urea fertilisation. They boycott imports of palm oil industry products from Indonesia. “Our palm oil is considered polluting the world. Carbon emissions released from peatlands and urea fertilisers at plantations in Kalimantan is seen as polluting the atmosphere equal to fuel use in the U.S. for 2 years,” said Agus.
Agus said that the use of SROP fertiliser in agriculture and plantation can act as environment controller, because the fertiliser can make carbon balance negative. In other words, SROP fertiliser functions as air cleaner so carbon emissions from agricultural and plantation industry reduce.
SROP fertiliser, Agus said, in terms of molecular aspect, can support the formation of the chemical balance system from air nitrogen towards the formation of ammonium and ion nitrate microbiologically that can hinder the release of ammonia (NH3) and oxide nitrogen (N20). The fertiliser can also support the formation of reaction system of water radicals that can expedite the formation of lignin so that plant growth can be speeded up. Besides, SROP functions as the slow release system of ion ammonium and nitrate to plants. “In terms of molecular aspect, the fertiliser can trap humic acid, retaining water maximally,” said the man who is now Vice Dean for General Administration and Resources Development in Faculty of Mathematics and Natural Sciences.
The process of SROP fertiliser making is simple. Initially, mass carbonisation is done or charcoalisation of agricultural or plantation waste. It is then activated with electrolytes solution, added with protein from agricultural or waste, ready to be made as fertiliser. “This fertiliser is composed of nitrogen, phospore, potassium oxides, organic carbon, water and paramagnetic materials,” he explained.
One year ago, SROP fertiliser was produced up to 0.5 ton per day, involving residents from Merapi slopes in the area of Balong, Donoharjo, Ngaglik, Sleman. The fertiliser is used by farmers joining “Karya Warga Merapi” cooperative to plant rice in an area measuring 5 hectares. “The results can increase rice husks by 20-60%, depending on the soil and pests,” he said.
The fertiliser is also used by farmers from Pakisaji, Candibinangun, Pakem, Sleman for their Situbagendit rice type. In Dieng, Central Java, SROP fertiliser is used for potatoes with satisfactorily results. “One stem reaches 1.1 kilogram in weight and in A and B quality. Without the fertiliser, it only reaches 0.7 kilogram,” he concluded.