A farmer from Pasuruan has discovered a way to generate electricity by converting methane gas from cow manure into energy, inspiring social workers to explore this technology as a possible way to combat the power crisis in remote regions of the province.
Hadi Susilo, a resident from the Purwosari district and graduate from the USAID Environmental Service Program, used his modified generator to power a fan, a television set, rice cooker, VCD player and energy saving lights for one and half hours.
The Ma'arif Aliyah (senior high school) Islamic school graduate coined the design after noticing the abundance of cow manure in his village, most of which was used for compost.
Initially Hadi required one cubic meter of gas comprising of 80 percent methane, 20 percent carbon and less than 1 percent water for his process.
"Now I can produce 3 cubic meters of methane each day, and soon the gas will be able to produce even greater amounts of energy," he told The Jakarta Post recently.
Hadi admitted he had little training in physics, chemistry and technology design when he first developed the technology in 1977 but said he did receive help from alumni at the Bandung Institute of Technology (ITB). These alumni were working under the Institute for Development and Studies on Energy Saving (LPPBE) at the time.
"Hadi is an innovator and source of motivation for other farmers. Through him, hopefully other farmers will recycle their cow-manure for more practical and valuable purposes," said Bintoro W. Prabowo, ESP USAID's public outreach and communications specialist.
Puguh Iryantoro, LPPBE, said his team wanted to employ Hadi to educate other farmers about the technology and assist in reducing their reliance on the state-owned electricity company PT PLN.
Hadi said the purchase and modification of the generator cost him Rp 12 million in total.
"This generator can be easily operated by housewives. A private company is trying to market the modified product in non-electrified remote areas in Pacitan where the raw-materials are easily found."
He said that he modified the engine's carburetor to allow it to operate with methane gas. "The most importance thing is that users should have an adequate stock of cow-manure to produce methane and subsequently energy."
Hadi is currently working on storage methods for methane gas, and trying to work out safe ways for it to be transported and refilled in a portable tube. Cow-manure has been used in the past as a non-organic fertilizer and also for generating power.