YOGYAKARTA – By the riverside of Code, a small brick structure stands strong. The unpainted construction measuring 7x6 meter looks like a chimney. Prof. Ir. Arief Budiman, M.S., D. Eng, is conducting a research there, converting biomass into fuels using Integrated Authothermal Technology. “We purposedly established the construction by the riverside, so, when biomass burning is happening, it won’t disrupt the learning process,” said Arief Budiman on Friday (3/1).
For the past two years, Arief has been testing the waste of palm oil and sugar cane waste to be made into oil as alternative for fossil energy. “The waste of both can now produce gasoline and kerosene,” said the man born in Pati, Central Java, 53 years ago.
Previously, Arief had tried to use other materials, but then he chose the palm oil as Indonesia is the second largest producer of palm oil in the world. The process of CPO making would produce solid waste.
For instance, in Riau a waste weighing 1.8-2,4 million of tonnes can be produced. It can be used for engine fuel as the biomass contains cellulose, hemicellulose and lignin.
By Integrated Authothermal Technology, Arief and colleagues developed autothermal technology which is a combination of fast and slow pyrolysis. It does not use external heat source. The tool uses pyrolysis reactor, a cyclone to separate gas and solid waste, and a condenser.
This will generate bio-oil gas which is then changed into gasoline and kerosene through cracking process using a catalyst that is based on biomass waste or partial oxidation.
Of 2 kilogram of waste, the tool will yield 80 mililiter of bio-oil through a 2-hour pyrolysis. The cracking will only take 30 minutes.
According to Arief, a bigger tool is needed for a bigger capacity.
Currently, he is trying to offer the government or industry a chance to develop the technology for biomass as a source for new and renewable energy. “Related to human resource, Indonesia is competitive as compared to other countries. It all depends on the government’s commitment,” he concluded.