Jakarta – BRIN Public Relations. Indonesia is to host the G20 Presidency. Under the theme Recover Together, Recover Stronger, transition to sustainable green energy is one of the main focuses of this international event, as a joint effort to reduce carbon emission.

Countries in the world, including Indonesia, have the commitment to realize Net Zero Emission (NZE) as summarized in the target of the Paris Agreement. In addition, the NZE scenario at the national level should also be carried out on the basis of commitment to the energy sector as incorporated in Government Regulation Number 79 of 2014 concerning National Energy Policy (KEN) and Presidential Regulation Number 22 of 2017 concerning National Energy General Plan (RUEN), which targets the use of New and Renewable Energy (EBT) 23 percent by 2025.

The issues of energy and environment are two things that are closely related. The industrial and transportation sectors are claimed to be the largest emitters, especially in Indonesia. For this reason, mastery of technology, especially those related to development of energy technology will continue to be encouraged for the progress of the Indonesian nation in the future. Research and innovation in the NRE sector are highly needed to support Economic Development Towards Advanced Indonesia by 2045. Various research and innovations related to energy have been carried out by the National Research and Innovation Agency (BRIN) in realizing Indonesia towards NZE, among others research on Geothermal Power Plant (PLTP), Nuclear Power Plant (NPP), bioethanol, fuel cell technology and hydrogen.

Geothermal and Nuclear Energy Potential to Illuminate the Country

Based on data from the Ministry of Energy and Mineral Resources, the potential of the national Geothermal Power Plants (PLTP) reaches 23.9 gigawatts (GW). This accounts for 40 percent of the potential of geothermal power plants in the world. However, until now, in Indonesia, only 2,276 MW or about 9.5 percent of the potential has been used, and most of the PLTP components are still imported.

Research related to PLTP has been carried out by BRIN through the development of modular PLTP. One of the reasons for choosing modular PLTP is considering the geothermal potential in Indonesia of up to 50 MW or almost 35 percent which spreads over eastern Indonesia area.

“Most geothermal locations are in remote areas where the electricity load is not too high,” said BRIN Acting Head of Conversion Technology Center, Cahyadi.

This modular PLTP design is a development or lesson learned from 2 types of previous PLTP research, namely 3MW condensing PLTP in Kamojang and 500kW binary cycle PLTP in Lahendong.

PLTP product investment is also a consideration. The development of Modular PLTP is expected to be competitive based on the experience when developing the Kamojang PLTP and Lahendong PLTP.

Modular PLTP is designed with the concept of more compact base, fast mobilization and installation, and flexibility to be placed on any wellhead. The capacity is in accordance with the well’s potential around 3 to 5 MW, quick in generating electricity once the well is ready for production, and the PLTP module can be relocated from wells that are no longer economical to productive wells.

“We have conducted a feasibility study on a 2×3 MW Modular PLTP in Sibayak – North Sumatra. The PLTP investment is estimated to be less than USD2 million dollars per MW, so it is feasible from the economic and technical points of view,” explained Cahyadi.

PLTP is an environmentally friendly technology with low CO2 emission. The carbon footprint is also low because the energy sources are available on site and do not require fuel sources that require production which produces carbon.

In addition to geothermal energy, nuclear energy is also included in the NRE group. Energy Law no. 30 of 2007 states that nuclear energy is included in the new energy group. The planning for developing of nuclear power plants has actually been echoed since the 1970s. The Serpong Nuclear Area is a nuclear science and technology research and development center area which was built with the aim of supporting the development of nuclear industry and preparing for the construction and operation of nuclear power plants in Indonesia.

“It used to be called science technology-based, namely technologies that were built to prepare the construction and operation of nuclear power plants,” said Suparman, BRIN’s Main Nuclear Technology Developer.

Our researchers have mastered the technology, ranging from uranium mining, fuel technology, reactor technology to nuclear waste management technology. In term of site preparation for nuclear power plants, site feasibility studies have been completed in Jepara and Bangka Belitung. Meanwhile, at the request of the West Kalimantan provincial government, a study was conducted on a site in Bengkayang Regency, West Kalimantan. Human resources have also been prepared with the existence of campuses that produce nuclear engineering graduates such as UGM, ITB, and BRIN Nuclear Polytechnic.

The study on nuclear power plants in West Kalimantan, Suparman explained, is divided into 3 major study groups, namely feasibility studies, mastery of technology, and supporting activities. The feasibility studies include, among others, economic studies, funding, economic impact, electricity grid, management aspects, preparation of human resources, and site. Mastery of technology focuses on the technology for nuclear power plants of the type of Pressurized Water Reactor. While the supporting activities are outreach activities, education, stakeholder mapping, including research to see the people’s acceptance.

According to him, the government’s commitment is needed to determine and decide  the development of nuclear power plants, thus the research and mastery of technology that has been carried out can support the government in the pledge towards NZE. This commitment needs to be realized by establishing the Nuclear Energy Program Implementation Organization (NEPIO), the organization which coordinates the nuclear power plant program.

“We are ready in various aspects to build nuclear power plants. We have mastered the technology, we just need to practice it,” said Suparman (tnt).