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UNAIR students create biogas product from agricultural waste

UNAIR students won third place in Shell Livewire Energy Solutions 2023. (Photo: By courtesy)

UNAIR NEWS – Four UNAIR students successfully won third place in Shell Livewire Energy Solutions 2023. They outperformed more than 300 other competitors with their biogas innovation, Biojel, which is made of agricultural waste.

The talented students from the Physics study program of the Faculty of Science and Technology include Nurul Munawar, Yulian Saktiawan, Muhammad Fajar, and Muhammad Rizaldi. They received funding of 40 million from the organizers, Shell Indonesia, and the School of Business and Management (SBM) Bandung Institute of Technology (ITB).

Biojel is an integrated biogas innovation that embraces the concept of a circular economy, producing biogas products for cooking and organic fertilizer.

Offers various values

Yulian stated that the circular economy transforms waste into high-value products. The idea was born from their concern for reduced cooking needs. They revealed that 58 percent of gas is still imported, resulting in an increase in demand and rising gas prices.

Besides, livestock farming plays a significant role. One of the largest sources of greenhouse gas emissions is the waste generated by livestock farming.

“For instance, every 100 grams of beef we consume can contribute to 50 grams of carbon emissions (greenhouse gases). Additionally, the dung produced by cattle contains dangerous methane gas to the environment. To address this issue, the system incorporates biogas integration to capture the methane gas, which can be used for cooking purposes and also produce organic fertilizer,” he said.

It offers various advantages. Firstly, it provides affordable access to clean energy, thus saving cooking fuel expenses. Secondly, it fulfills the demand for organic fertilizer, leading to cost savings for farmers and reduced use of chemical fertilizers. “Indirectly, it creates a circular economy within the community,” he added.

The competition

Furthermore, Yulian shared the story behind each stage. “Starting from December 2022, Shell Livewire Energy Solutions 2023 opened its registration, and by March 2023, it successfully selected more than 33 entrepreneurs who passed the first boot camp out of nearly 300 participants,” he said.

The long journey of the competition, including the boot camp part, left them impressed. Moreover, each finalist must have short-term and long-term progress plans, ranging from problem-solution fit to business-model fit and fundraising planning.

During the competition, UNAIR team was feeling insecure due to many other team members consisting of master’s graduates. In comparison, their team members were merely undergraduate students. However, as time went on, they remained determined and well-prepared, actively participating in the bootcamp and mentorship sessions and diligently completing their assignments.

Fortunately, they were able to execute each stage smoothly, including the Final Pitching presentation at Mandalika International Circuit, Lombok Tengah, West Nusa Tenggara, and achieved a position in the top three.

Representing the whole team, Yulian hoped that the victory might encourage Biojel to contribute more and have positive impacts to the energy sector business in Indonesia.

Author: Viradyah Lulut Santosa

Editor: Khefti Al Mawalia