Mahasiswa ITB Gagaskan Ubah Sampah Plastik Menjadi Listrik

Foto: Kompas.com

Mahasiswa Institut Teknologi Bandung (ITB) menciptakan ide revolusioner tentang sistem pengolahan sampah plastik yang tidak hanya membantu mengurangi jumlah sampah plastik di lingkungan, tetapi juga menghasilkan listrik. Solusi inovatif ini menjawab dua masalah nyata dan mendesak, yaitu krisis sampah plastik dan kebutuhan akan sumber energi yang sustainable.

Earron Keane Woen, Christopher Abigail Surya, dan Catherine Nathania Christianto, tiga mahasiswa Institut Teknologi Bandung (ITB), mencetuskan ide untuk mengubah sampah plastik menjadi energi. Setelah mengumpulkan makalah berjudul “Manfaat Mengolah Sampah Plastik Menjadi Energi Listrik”, mereka dinyatakan sebagai pemenang HVL National Competition.

Mereka juga menjuarai UI Youth Environmental Action International Competition dengan ide serupa, menganalisis potensi finansial dari sistem Waste to Energy (WTE). Konsep yang mereka usung dalam dua kompetisi tersebut adalah pemanfaatan pembakaran sampah plastik dalam sistem tertutup yang menghasilkan sedikit atau tidak ada polusi.

Cristopher menjelaskan bagaimana panas pembakaran akan digunakan untuk mendidihkan air, lalu dengan uap yang dihasilkan kemudian menggerakkan generator turbin untuk menghasilkan listrik. Dia juga menyebutkan bahwa sisa asap dari pembakaran dapat dipadatkan kembali dan digunakan untuk membuat biofuel dan produk sampingan lainnya.

Sistem ini tidak hanya ramah lingkungan, tetapi juga hemat biaya. Proses pembuatan listrik dari sampah plastik lebih murah dibandingkan dengan cara pembuatan listrik lainnya. Ini menjadikannya pilihan yang baik untuk negara berkembang seperti Indonesia yang memiliki banyak masalah dengan sampah plastik.

Ketiga mahasiswa ini juga telah melihat seberapa banyak listrik yang dapat dihasilkan oleh sistem WTE. Data tersebut kemudian digunakan untuk menentukan berapa banyak uang yang dapat dihemat dengan mengurangi subsidi listrik yang diberikan oleh pemerintah.

Selain itu, ketiganya mengusulkan kemitraan antara PLN dan swasta yang memanfaatkan WTE agar penyediaan listrik lebih efektif dan efisien. Dari sisi pasar nasional, produk sampingan dari sistem WTE juga dipandang memiliki potensi menghasilkan ekonomi yang sehat.

Mereka percaya bahwa sistem ini dapat dioperasikan karena ada banyak pasokan bahan baku yang diperlukan. Sistem yang digunakan juga tidak terlalu rumit. Tercatat bahwa beberapa negara, termasuk Singapura, Swedia, dan Nigeria, termasuk yang pertama berhasil menerapkan sistem ini.

Sistem pengolahan sampah plastik yang dirancang mahasiswa ITB ini merupakan langkah maju yang signifikan dalam mengatasi krisis sampah plastik dan kebutuhan akan sumber energi berkelanjutan. Ini menunjukkan bagaimana pemikiran dan teknologi inovatif dapat digunakan untuk menciptakan solusi praktis yang tidak hanya melindungi lingkungan tetapi juga memberikan manfaat ekonomi. 

Sistem ini juga berfungsi sebagai model bagi universitas dan peneliti lain untuk mengembangkan solusi serupa untuk membantu memerangi sampah plastik dan krisis energi. Solusi ini bisa menjadi batu loncatan untuk mengurangi ketergantungan pada bahan bakar fosil dan mempromosikan lingkungan yang lebih hijau dan bersih.



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