Our technology helps Indonesian children

Published 11 Jun 2014

The last days of May a unique environment and aid projects in Indonesian City Of Palu was inaugurated. The project, which has lasted for almost two exiting years, has dual purposes. With engineering from Biogas Systems environmentally harmful gas from the city landfill is converted into useful energy. Meanwhile a new municipality-funded housing projects, improves the living conditions for "scavengers" who live out of what can be extracted from the landfil.

Palu paves the way for future investments

Swedish environmental engineering specialist BIOGAS SYSTEMS has developed a technology that converts harmful methane gas from the world's landfills into ecologically sustainable bioenergy. The technology is rapidly being implemented in Europe, but also in other parts of the world.

In Indonesian CITY OF PALU, capital of the province of Central Sulawesi, the business idea is taken one step further when the environmental and energy benefits are complemented with human humanitarian dimensions.

- Starting from the installation of our new facility a housing project will be implemented that will improve the lives of the people - so-called "scavengers" - who live on the landfill and support themselves of what the landfill has to offer, says Tony Zetterfeldt, CEO at Biogas Systems who recently attended the inauguration. In total there are close to 100 families that takes advantage of the garbage.

The project, funded by Palu Municipality, is to build new housing for landfill workers. The homes are given free electricity from Biogas Systems facility which means opportunities for lighting. With the help of electricity, they can also cook without a fire and drill for drinking water, which is something completely new for most of the residents. SIDA contribute to the economy through co-financing of the gas collection system and equipment for energy production.

Palu Municipality also work to give landfill workers more tolerable working conditions and an orderly employment with the municipality as an employer. Children of the families are also given opportunities to go to school which means improved conditions to eventually leave the landfill.

The investment in PALU has aroused great attention all over Indonesia and the inauguration was broadcasted live on national television. On the initiative of SIDA a film about the project has also been recorded (see biogassystems.se).

- The problem is similar in every Indonesian municipality, says Tony Zetterfeldt. Via our local partners, we have already been contacted by several potential customers and some municipalities were also present at the inauguration.

Instructive installation

Work in PALU has been a long and eventful journey filled with adventure.

- Normally, the installation of a facility of this size takes 6-8 months, says Tony Zetterfeldt. In Palu, we have been at it for close to 2 years.

The work has been influenced by several factors. A practical problem has been all the animals that reside at the landfill. Hundreds of cows and goats is living on the dump and are an important part of the residents life. Another reason for the delay is the Indonesian customs handling.

- The equipment has been firmly rooted in the customs for 3-4 months, laughs Tony Zetterfeldt. This is certainly a process that can be done differently and faster the next time.

Part of international effort

Indonesia is just one of the countries where BIOGAS SYSTEMS engineering attracts attention. In Asia, there are discussions with potential customers in Malaysia and the Philippines. Together with partners and retailers the system is also launched in southern Europe, Africa and South America.

The company, along with partners, also start looking at a new product that could follow in the footsteps of the landfill gas systems. A natural complement to the current technology is soft solar cells that covers the landfill and takes advantage of the sun's energy.

- This is an extremely exciting area that we are following with great interest, says Tony Zetterfeldt. We are approaching a point where we, together with the developer, seriously consider to move forward, especially in countries where the sun shines stronger and more frequent than in our latitudes.

Film and photo: Carl Myrén

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