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Revealing the challenges of research-based alternative energy

Diposting pada 20 Juni 2024 oleh admin / Dilihat: 0 kali

Jakarta (ANTARA) – The increasing use of fossil fuels in the form of coal, petroleum and natural gas has resulted in a global energy crisis which has an impact on world economic and geopolitical stability.

This situation forces humanity to immediately switch from unsustainable energy sources to cleaner and renewable green energy.

Science is a guide for humans to save the earth through environmentally friendly alternative energy. Head of the National Research and Innovation Agency (BRIN) Laksana Tri Handoko stated that the development of new and renewable energy requires serious efforts not only from the government and energy management but also technological breakthroughs.

“That is our challenge, especially in research and academic circles, to find ways to achieve (development of) new renewable energy amidst the geopolitical situation,” he said in early June 2024.

Scientists are artists. Research and innovation activities enable humans to be creative and open up opportunities for the development of an environmentally friendly energy industry.

On an earth with a population of eight billion people, alternative energy holds the key to a better life in the future.

Fuel replacement

The Ministry of Energy and Mineral Resources (ESDM) noted that in the last decade, new and renewable energy has experienced quite significant growth, slowly replacing fossil energy.

Based on data from the 2023 Indonesian Energy and Economic Statistics Guidebook published by the Ministry of Energy and Mineral Resources on June 6 2024, the supply of fossil energy in the form of petroleum, coal and natural gas reached 41.43 percent, 29.61 percent and 29.61 percent. respectively 22.28 percent in 2013.

A decade later, in 2023, the share of fossil fuels in the national primary energy mix will fall to 29.91 percent compared to oil and natural gas of 17.11 percent. Meanwhile, the share of coal was recorded to have grown by 39.69 percent due to a 35 thousand megawatt project focused on steam power plants (PLTU).

In 2013, the share of new and renewable energy in national primary energy was only 6.69 percent, followed by an increase in green energy to 13.29 percent in 2023.

The global determination to curb climate change by reducing carbon emissions from power plants is creating new opportunities for environmentally friendly green electricity.

Even though Indonesia has abundant new and renewable energy resources, such as sun, wind and water, the most promising alternative energy sources are biofuel and nuclear.

Even though Indonesia is a tropical country that receives 12 hours of sunlight throughout the year, BRIN sees that the efficiency of solar panels in Indonesia is lower than in subtropical countries in Australia and the Middle East.

The large amount of cloud cover in Indonesia can hinder the production of electricity from solar panels. After all, Indonesia is an archipelago that quickly forms clouds.

Large-scale solar power plants are not suitable for use in Indonesia because they take up a lot of land. However, independent and small-scale solar panels for public street lighting are considered ideal in Indonesia.

Wind power is also considered less effective in Indonesia, which has a monsoon climate. Wind power is generally efficient for subtropical countries where wind pressure is consistent.

“Scientifically, we know that the challenges of solar and wind power in Indonesia are greater than in other countries. Do we encourage biofuels? “Hydroelectric power plants will also be difficult because they can damage the environment,” explained Handoko.

Currently, his party is carrying out a research project to increase the potential of plantations and agriculture to produce biofuel.

Crude palm oil, sorghum and corn can be substitute fuels for the transportation sector. In 2013, the share of biofuels in primary energy was only 0.56 percent. A decade later, the percentage of biofuel use was recorded at 4.54 percent.

Indonesia has actually developed technology to produce biofuel and is supported by extensive plantations and agricultural land.

Researcher at the BRIN Energy Conversion and Conservation Research Center, Rizal Alamsyah, stated that the technology for processing biomass into biofuels—liquid and solid products—has progressed.

Biomass conversion into energy can be done in several ways, namely direct combustion conversion, thermochemical conversion and biochemical conversion.

Currently, liquid biofuel technology has developed rapidly, starting from the first generation which uses primary raw materials, to the third generation which uses aquatic plant biomass. In fact, biofuel technology has now entered the fourth generation which converts biomass into biohydrogen.

Scientists leave traces of future civilizations through the works they engrave on the pages of scientific books. The goal is for humanity to continue to explore, think and innovate.

The right technology

Batteries play an important role in determining the future of new and renewable energy. Half of the challenges faced in implementing environmentally friendly electricity can be overcome by developing battery technology.

Humanity can store as much energy as possible in storage space without taking up too much space.

During the day, solar panels convert sunlight into electricity and then store it in batteries for use at night. This concept is similar to that applied to wind power plants.

So far, nuclear power has been the most sensible option for generating electricity without continuously producing carbon emissions.

In 1958, Indonesia became the first country to have a nuclear reactor on the Asian continent. However, Indonesia is now far behind other countries, such as the United Arab Emirates, which already has four nuclear power plants (PLTN).

In the New Energy and Renewable Energy Bill (RUU EBET) which has been completed and will soon be published, the government places nuclear as one of the energy sources in the future.

Nuclear technology for electricity is considered to have matured, reaching fourth generation nuclear reactor technology.

According to scientists, this fourth generation reactor is most suitable for development in Indonesia because it is safe, has a high temperature gas cooling system, and is affordable and has low waste.

Even though it is a mature technology and one of the most potential energy sources, nuclear power is not always popular in some countries, including Indonesia.

The level of public acceptance—remembering the nuclear tragedies at Chernobyl and Fukushima—is still a challenge in nuclear development not only in Indonesia but also in developed countries.

If history is always a heavy burden, we may never be ready to face the possibilities of the future. History has provided lessons for a better human life in the future through serious efforts.

Related news: BRIN outlines plans to develop nuclear power plants in Indonesia
Related news: Indonesia and Finland increase cooperation on green energy and smart cities

Editor: Rahmad Nasution
Copyright © ANTARA 2024

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Revealing the challenges of research-based alternative energy

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