By Arya Lukito, Carbon Energy Expert, GNFI contributor, Phnom Penh (Cambodia)
Reducing emission and going green. Denmark, Germany, Australia and some other developed countries have been implementing it and it even becomes part of their government program to support the economy. Well, this is not a new thing since the greenhouse gases and global warming issues have become the number one threat for everyone on the world nowadays. My question is, does Indonesia already take a part as well in this matter?? Well, that was my thought until I read again my old Gatra magazine collection last week.
What a surprise… that on the Gatra 31th edition, year XV, period 11-17 June 2009 there was one precious article that I missed!!! Its an article about “Menyulap Asap Menjadi Duit” (Converting Smoke Into Money) which talks about a carbon dioxide (CO2) purification factory in Cilegon, Banten owned by PT Resources Jaya Teknik Management Indonesia (PT RMI) which amazingly become the first carbon purification factory in Asia!!! Through its sister company, PT RMI Krakatau Karbonindo (RMI-KK), they had built the factory in “Kawasan Industri Ekonomi Khusus” a.k.a KIEK (Special Economic Industry Zone). Also involved in the project is CIDES (Center for Information and Development Studies) which becomes the working partner. Officially opened in Saturday, 13 June 2009, the factory starts its first operation.
This big project requires US$ 6.5 million for equipments and US$3 for factory. Hmm, such a big investment. But wait a minute! If the factory is running well, the company will build 2 other factories next year with total investments of US$ 10.6 million each factory! Super! If the company dares to spend such fantastic amount of investment like that, the calculation of profit and loss has surely been done carefully and with full of attention. According to Rohmad Hadiwijoyo, President Director of PT RMI-KK, doing business with this “smelly smoke waste” can provide double benefits. In addition to supporting environment sustainability through cleaning the greenhouse gases, don’t forget, we can make money from it!
What the company does is, “catch” and “clean” the carbon waste into liquid CO2. The “raw material” comes from the smoke waste which so far, the company had only one “supplier”, PT Krakatau Steel. “We install a blower in the factory chimney to lead the polluted CO2 gas into a pipe to be then transferred to carbon refinery unit”, said Isnanto W., Vice President of Marketing Division in PT RMI-KK.
The process is: the CO2 gas is “squeezed” to eliminate the moisture then transferred to a filter to remove the foreign particles and any stinky smells. After that, the gas is placed into water scrubber unit to dry and free the gas from sulfur dioxide (SO2). The gas become hot and we spend some time to cooling it down, soon after it cooled, we put the gas into a compressor to be then condensed into solid form. Next step is, the solid form of gas placed into purification unit to be then cooled down again and melted. The liquid CO2 is finally formed and the product is packed into 2 special tanks with capacity of 220 meter cubic.
“Who is buying it then?” Well, don’t be wrong buddy, there are numbers of buyers waiting in line starting from sugar factories, carbonate drink manufacturers, food companies until fisheries industries. Liquid CO2 used mainly for whitening sugar, mixed into carbonate drink as raw material and sterilize bacteria and fungi from food.
What differentiate this product from the general liquid CO2 which been around in the market is the general liquid CO2 still using natural oil as its raw material, our product using factory smoke waste as its raw material and the price is much cheaper. Normally, the buyer orders up to 20 tons per buy. “We already have some buyers: Iwatani Industries, Molindo, Samator and Aneka Gas. Some of them are also become our distributor.”
For the profit calculation, we buy the CO2 at Rp. 85/kg from Krakatau Steel. After purified and processed, the price can rise up to Rp.3000/kg in the market, wow! According to Rohmad, there is a big market potential for this product since the demand for purified CO2 nowadays can reach up to 250 ton per day. PT RMI-KK is currently able to produce 3 tons/hour or 72 tons/day.
Due to this condition, the factory capacity will be improved to 18 tons/hour. In addition to that, RMI-KK will also maximize the raw material stock into 9 tons/hour. “It’s being adjusted to the demand of purified CO2 in Indonesia”, Rohmad said. Other profit source comes from the mechanism of clean development mechanism (CDM) which is been adjusted with Kyoto Protocol. For them who have implemented CDM will earn carbon credit certification which then can be traded. “With the number of purified CO2 production that RMI-KK has which amounted to 24,000 tons per year, we earned carbon credit valued to £ 288,000 (1 ton CO2 = £ 12)” said Rohmad. “However, we are not considering profit yet. The most important is taking benefit from the smoke waste that we are having now to reduce pollution”, Rohmad said again.
Rohmad’s statement is reasonable by looking at the quota of CO2 produced in Indonesia which is increasing each year. The biggest producers are coming from industry, transportation and electricity reactor sector said Rudi Wahyono, Director of Kajian Energi, Kelautan dan Lingkungan (CIDES). According to BPPT study, national industry sector has contribute 77.22 million ton (27%) of carbon emission from the total of emission in Indonesia which is 286 million ton. In spite of this critical condition, it also indicates that we are having an open wide opportunity for the business of pollution waste purification. That’s why Rudi expects that we need to have more industries doing similar action to solve the global warming problem.
The biggest challenge now is coming from technology. The existing technology that PT RMI-KK has is not allowing them to take any kind of carbon gases in the air to be used as raw material. “Our raw material must consist of < 90% CO2. So the emission from transportation sector is not applicable yet” said Rohmad. Yet, this condition is not lowering his spirit. According to him, the Indonesian government has decided to reduce emission in all of government owned enterprise. This is a very good sign for the carbon waste purification business. Once again, let’s make money and green our earth at the same time!!!
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