The government inaugurated on Monday a facility to produce refuse-derived fuel (RDF), a fuel made of various types of waste, in Cilacap, Central Java, as part of efforts to improve Indonesia’s waste management and speed up the country’s transition to renewable energy.
The Rp 90 billion (US$6.09 million) facility, the first of its kind in Indonesia, is the result of a cooperation agreement between the Public Works and Housing Ministry, the Environment and Forestry Ministry, the Denmark Embassy, regional administrations and publicly listed building materials manufacturer PT Solusi Bangun Indonesia.
The RDF facility is also a pilot project for improving Indonesia’s waste management, said Coordinating Maritime Affairs and Investment Minister Luhut Binsar Pandjaitan.
“We need a breakthrough in waste management to reduce cities or regencies’ dependence on final disposal sites [TPA], which has long been an issue both on the environment and social fronts,” Luhut was quoted in a statement as saying on Monday.
Solusi Bangun Indonesia, which operates four cement factories across the country, including in Cilacap, is planning to produce 50 tons of RDF from 120 tons of waste every day. The firm will use the fuel as an alternative to coal to power its cement plant.
Indonesia, the world’s second-largest contributor of plastic pollutants in the ocean, has been working to solve its waste problem.
According to the World Bank’s Indonesia Marine Debris Hotspots Rapid Assessment, 20 percent of the country's plastic waste ends up in rivers and coastal waters.
The government is planning to reduce the country’s marine plastic debris by 70 percent between 2020 and 2025 and become free of plastic pollution by 2040.
Nani Hendiarti, the Office of the Coordinating Maritime Affairs and Investment Minister's deputy of environment and forestry management, said the new facility would open up business opportunities waste management for individuals and companies.
“We hope this RDF facility will shift waste management from a cost burden to a business model that can create economic activity, through which the public can contribute to increase the shares of renewable energy in Indonesia,” Nani said.
The alternative source of fuel could also be used to replace coal at steam-electric power plants (PLTU), the ministry said on Monday
The government also plans to partner with PT Indonesia Power, a subsidiary of state-owned electricity company PLN, to use the alternative fuel at power plants.