Sanur, Bali- Wearing a pair of knee-high boots, Ni Wayan Karini strode past an expanse of colorful fields of flowers taller than an average adult. She later stirred remaining of chicken boiled in two large pots for feeding pigs in her backyard farm in Sanur area of Bali province.
“We usually have at least 50 pigs in our pigsty, but because we just sold some, the sty is a bit empty,” she said.
“Once every three days I get garbage from neighbors. They don’t know what to do with their garbage. Today I got this chicken, sometimes I get cookies, rice, fish, many things,” said the 50-year-old woman who manages the farm only with her husband.
“We sometimes get thrown sushi. Our pigs eat sushi, although we rarely eat sushi,” she said laughing heartily.
Once in a while Karini wiped the sweat from her pretty face. With her husband, Nyoman Brandi, she cleans the pigsty and keeps the fruit and flower gardens. The entire backyard and pigsty were very clean, and did not stink at all, unlike some other pig farms.
They achieved this after they built a 6-cubic-meter domestic biogas (BIRU) digester in 2010, which functions to transform animal and human waste and other organic materials into biogas that is useful for domestic scale of cooking gas consumption and energy for lighting.
BIRU digester technology is a fixed-dome adapted from a system used in other countries like Bangladesh, Cambodia, Laos, Pakistan, Nepal and Vietnam.
The fixed-dome digester is made of bricks and concrete buried under the ground. The system has been proven to be safe for the environment and function as a source of clean energy.
Initiated in May 2009 with the support from the Netherlands Embassy, Indonesia Domestic Biogas Programme (IDBP) or BIRU has built more than 15,000 biogas digesters in 10 provinces in Indonesia by June 2015 to promote modern and sustainable renewable energy for the Indonesian society.
Nyoman Brandi, a retired civil servant from the environmental office, had been familiar with biogas concept because in Bali there were many pig farms.
“Pig farms are the enemy of Bali’s environment, that’s why I wanted to change that image,” he said.
“Before, we got complaints from neighbors because the pigsty and the pig dung stank, but after we planted the biogas digester, the problem was solved,” he said.
The neighbors who previously protested the farm now used Karini and Brandi as their “garbage dump.” Now, when the couple opened their gate in the morning, they would find garbage from the neighbors.
“They know we can use the garbage. They know that their garbage is useful for our pig farm,” Nyoman said.
The biogas residue or the bio-slurry from the digester is also useful for the neighborhood. The couple uses the bio-slurry as organic fertilizer for their flower and fruit plants in their fields.
They got double advantage because their plants grow healthily.
In line with the Hindu tradition the couple follows, they use the fruits and flowers from their own gardens for daily offerings. Because they had good yields, they could even sell some flowers to their neighbors.
“The fresh flowers fetch Rp 3,000 per stalk,” Karini said.
Good sanitation had also become the major motivator for Joko Winarno, an owner of a tofu factory “Sri Rejeki” in Sidoarjo district, Sragen in Central Java, to use biogas.
The home industry he managed with his wife employed 10 people and used 200 kilograms of soy beans per day to produce tofu that would distribute to nearby markets.
“Before we had biogas, we threw liquid waste from our tofu industry into the river. It stank a lot, and we felt bad to the environment,” Joko said.
His concern for the stinking liquid waste prompted Joko to learn how to manage his waste. In 2014 he met a construction worker who introduced him to the domestic biogas, which could help him manage the waste.
Joko Winarno finally found the solution to his problem. He then built a big digester at once, measured 12 cubic meter, because he realized that the liquid waste resulted from his tofu industry was a lot, so he uses the waste as ingredient for the domestic biogas, otherwise this liquid waste would pollutes the environment.
As expected, the result had satisfied the 47-year-old businessman very much.
“It has been a year since the last time I bought LPG for cooking in the house and for frying tofu. Most importantly, the liquid waste no longer disturbs the environment,” he said, with a clear sign of relief on his face.
“I have calculated that I can save Rp 200,000 to Rp 300,000 per month by replacing LPG with biogas,” Joko said.
The waste problem in farms or industry is basically the same: they emit bad smell to the house and the neighborhood. After installing biogas digester, the waste problem is not only solved but it also gives benefits to the users.