Turning Waste into Alternative Energy in Kendari, Indonesia

Turning Waste into Alternative Energy in Kendari, Indonesia


How to deal with the ever-growing mountain of waste has become one of the most important issues for local governments across the region – the city of Kendari in Southeast Sulawesi found a simple and effective method of turning the city’s waste into alternative energy in the form of methane gas.

With a population of more than 300,000 in 2012 and a high population growth rate, urbanization is progressing at a rapid rate in Kendari and the city is the main economic center of the province. While in itself this is a positive development, it has led to problems with provision of services and infrastructure, including waste disposal and street cleaning. Citizens showed little awareness of the problem and were not very interested in looking after their environment; how to deal with rubbish and other waste increasingly became a problem as the city grew.

The final waste disposal facility was not able to cope with the increasing demand, especially since the population of the city had not yet been introduced to the concepts of sorting waste and of recycling, let alone composting. Much too often, garbage was still dumped on the streets and solid waste was burned. Inspired by an innovative project in Brazil, the city therefore decided to develop a waste disposal system that would turn waste into alternative energy in the form of methane gas. The energy generated through this new system would be made available for free to poorer families to ease their dependence on fossil fuels and other more expensive forms of energy.

The technical and infrastructure challenges of constructing the right kind of waste disposal facility, introducing waste sorting and installing a methane gas extraction and distribution system, were met successfully; by the end of the first phase of the project, 126 families were receiving free energy. The city has become a cleaner place and the citizens, who have been involved extensively in schemes for recycling and reducing waste, are very much in favour of continuing the scheme. Funds for expanding the methane gas production, in cooperation with local businesses, have been set aside in the mid- and long term local development plans; the future for this innovative approach to waste management looks secure.

A summary of the project and contact information is available on the DELGOSEA website under: http://delgosea.eu/cms/Best-Practices/New-Best-Practices-DELGOSEA-II-from-2013-onwards