Tofu home industries produce tofu using clean energy and save on energy costs


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Hariadi and his family run a small enterprise from their house in Masbagik Village, East Lombok. They make tofu and tempe, two popular traditional foods in Indonesia. Since a few months, the family business also has a tofu waste biogas digester in-house which recycles their food waste.

“I know SNV via my friend. He invited me to meet someone who introduced me to biogas from tofu waste,” said Hariadi.

SNV Indonesia, in cooperation with local foundation YM3S, introduced the biogas technology of tofu waste in west Lombok and East Lombok in 2014. Lombok Timur was selected as target areas due to its large home-based tofu industry.

"During that meeting, he explained about the benefits of biogas from tofu waste…for example that it can save on the costs of the chaff used."

Currently he uses 10 sacks of chaff every day to cook the tofu for eight hours. The price of one sack of chaff is 5,000 Rupiah and he spends nearly 1.5 million Rupiah every month. He also needs 60 3kg-tubes of LPG per month to cook tempe. Now that he has biogas, he does not have to pay for 3 kg tubes of LPG each week.

SNV pilots first biogas digesters run on tofu waste in Indonesia

Hariadi is willing to install biogas digesters using SNV’s design and technology. SNV’s pilot tofu digesters are the first one in Indonesia for tofu waste, and they are more sustainable and efficient than digesters installed by other organisations in East Lombok because people are willing to use them.

SNV’s financing options make sense for the tofu and tempe producers. He financed 50% of the construction cost, or approximately 4 million Rupiah.

The construction of the digesters took two weeks; then after thirty days of feeding the digester with tofu waste, it took 10 more days to produce gas. Thereafter, gas was released every day two times to reduce the carbon and allowed the digester to increase its methane content. The methane content gradually increased and gas burning hours per day also increased.

Hariadi added, “It took almost 30 days for the gas to completely burn. Currently, the gas is good for burning about 10-12 hours per day.”

Waste to energy solutions save families money and the environment

Tofu producers need large amounts of fuel wood or biomass to cook soybean and boil the water. When biogas is used for tofu and tempe production, almost 60 percent of biomass consumed by tofu producers is saved, resulting in about 102 USD savings every month.

This is one of the good example of biogas for productive use because there is a direct relation with production as business and the total investment of digester can be recovered in 17 months.

Turning tofu waste into energy is also mean less pollution in nearby the rivers. The wastewater is directly channelled into a tank, fermented and turned into biogas.  The wastewater problem is solved. There are many factories nearby that are still disposing of tofu waste without treatment.

“After the installation, I am satisfied with biogas and proud to be an innovative and environmentally friendly home industry in my community,” said Hariadi.

His workers are also happy because now they can enjoy a smoke free and clean working environment.