Biogas initiative for agriculture in Bali and Flores funded by carbon offset

A group of people listening to a trainer in an open-air area in Indonesia. The people are young and old people, men and women, some standing and some sitting on chairs. All of them focus on the trainer in the middle of the group.

Country: Indonesia
Organisation: su-re.co (sustainability & resilience)
Support area: Mitigating greenhouse gas emissions
BMU funding: 48,089 €
Project start: 01/08/2021
Project end: 31/07/2022
Website: https://www.su-re.co/

In Indonesia, more than 25 million rural households rely on traditional biomass fuels. Biogas digesters emerged as a renewable energy source to replace firewood stoves, but they are not being deployed fast enough. At the current rate it would take 1,000 years to reach the country’s need of two million digesters. As a solution, the implementing organisation developed cheap and user-friendly biogas digesters. As part of the IKI Small Grants project, these improved digesters are installed on 40 coffee and chocolate farmers in Bali and Flores. In a training programme, the farmers not only learn how to operate and maintain the biogas digesters but also how they can effectively adapt their farming practices to climate change and use co-products of the biogas production as organic fertilizer. Farmers receive additional income through the project’s own carbon offset scheme.

INITIAL SITUATION

In Indonesia, more than 25 million rural households rely on traditional biomass fuels. Firewood harvesting accounts for 25-42% of the total emissions from deforestation in Asia. Biogas digesters emerged as a renewable energy source to replace firewood stoves, which not only reduce emissions from untreated manure, wood harvesting, and carbon soot but also reduce health risks associated with indoor house pollution. Moreover, biogas digesters produce organic fertilizer, which can replace synthetic fertilizers – a big contributor of emissions in the agriculture sector.

TARGET GROUP

40 coffee and chocolate farmers in Bali and Flores have been selected in cooperation with the local farmers’ collective to participate in project activities. While the farmers are the direct target group of the project, their families benefit from the additional income and reduced indoor air pollution.

APPROACH AND ACTIVITIES

In practical field trainings, the farmers not only learn how to operate and maintain the biogas digesters but also how they can effectively adapt to climate change. This educational program works in collaboration with the Indonesian Agency for Meteorology, Climatology and Geophysics to combine traditional agricultural knowledge with the latest climate science. As soon as the digesters are set up on the farms, farmers receive additional income based on their biogas production through the project’s carbon offset scheme that calculates the estimated cost of offsetting CO2 equivalents through the biogas production. Prior to selling the carbon credits, a researcher hired by the project calculates the carbon offset potential of the project to ensure a solid data baseline. The offset scheme considers the cost of the digester itself plus additional costs, divided by the total carbon offset potential of the digester’s lifetime. Flow data is automatically transferred from the digester as farmers feed and maintain the digesters. This reduces the effort for farmers and helps to avoid errors in data transmission. The implementing organisation has established partnerships with hotels and international schools to reach out to eco-conscious tourists and expats who are potential customers for carbon offsets. They can either purchase carbon credits or simply donate biogas digesters to reduce their carbon footprint.

ABOUT THE ORGANISATION

Founded in 2015, su-re.co (Sustainability and Resilience Co) is a think-do-be tank based in Bali, Indonesia. su-re.co started their first coffee project to fulfil the promise “Don’t just study but do something”. su-re.co commits to buy coffee and cacao farmers who continue with their good agricultural practices while scaling up scientifically supported activities and policies. As a Think-tank with a scientific background and strategic planning, su-re.co works on international research and consulting projects on environmental issues, including climate change and energy projects. As a Do-tank, they work directly with national and local policymakers, smallholder farmers communities, and international organizations while simultaneously creating a business at grand through climate smart products such as coffee, cocoa, and biogas. Thus, su-re.co generates insight to help the public and private sector work hand-in-hand on tackling climate change.

PROJECT HIGHLIGHTS

In December 2021, su-re.co presented its project and some of the current project highlights in a meeting with the German Environment Ministry (BMU) and Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) GmbH. The team members explained the background of their work and shared a short insight into the practical implementation by visiting a user of the biogas digesters. For the implementation of the project, su-re.co is working closely with GIZ Indonesia, which is providing technical support. It is available in English.