June 26, 2024

Waste-to-Gas in Indonesia: High-Tech Challenges

X-5 Machine

In 2021, Zero-X introduced the X-5, a prototype for the X-150 waste-to-gas generator, as a groundbreaking solution for converting waste into gas through gasification. This advanced technology can process various types of waste, transforming them into clean syngas. The machine holds the potential to revolutionize waste treatment in regions like Bali, Indonesia, where waste disposal poses a significant challenge. Currently, the X-150 is operational and has been successfully implemented in the Cometha Project in Paris, demonstrating its effectiveness and viability.

Stranded in the North of Bali

For a long time, the X-5 was stationed in the northern part of Bali. Despite its immense potential, no one could transport the machine to where it was most needed due to its substantial size—2 meters high, 1.5 meters wide, and weighing 1 tonne. The logistical challenges of moving such a large piece of equipment across the island's inadequate and often difficult terrain seemed insurmountable.

Taking Matters into Our Own Hands

Realizing the machine's potential to address Bali's waste problem, we decided to take matters into our own hands. A team of dedicated interns and local workers was assembled, and we embarked on a mission to retrieve the X-5. Driving up north, we faced the daunting task of disassembling the machine into smaller, manageable parts to facilitate transport. This required meticulous planning and careful execution to ensure that it could be safely transported and reassembled.

The machine is heavy, no question, but this kind of transport in France is done like a million times per day, but what is normal back home here is quite the challenge, no proper roads, no trucks,...” Leo, Intern at Zero-X.

Transporting to Canggu

Transporting the disassembled X-5 parts to Canggu was no easy feat. The journey involved navigating narrow, poorly maintained roads, which are typical in many developing regions. Using two local trucks, the team carefully transported the machine's components. The challenging road conditions in Bali made the 8km journey feel much longer and more arduous than it would in a developed country. Additionally, we initially considered using scooters for transport, but the difficulty of balancing large machine parts on such vehicles quickly proved impractical. This phase of the project highlighted the infrastructure challenges that often accompany high-tech operations in developing countries.

Setting It Up

Upon arrival at Thrive Hotel in Canggu, the team began the complex process of reassembling the X-5. This task proved to be even more challenging than anticipated. The interns, with limited hands-on experience, relied heavily on instructional videos and virtual guidance to piece the machine back together. The lack of physical manuals or in-person expert assistance added to the difficulty, requiring the team to exercise patience and precision.

Despite these initial challenges, the dedication and ingenuity of the interns and local workers shone through. They meticulously cleaned and reassembled the machine, often working late into the night to ensure each part was correctly installed. This stage was crucial, as it tested not only our technical skills but also our ability to adapt and improvise in the face of unexpected challenges. The process became a new project in itself, fostering teamwork and innovative problem-solving as we navigated unforeseen obstacles and worked tirelessly to bring the X-5 to operational status.

Final Thoughts

The journey of the X-5 from the north of Bali to its operational setup in Canggu is a testament to the resilience and determination required to operate high-tech equipment in developing countries. Despite the significant challenges posed by infrastructure limitations, resource constraints, and logistical hurdles, the successful transport and setup of the X-150 demonstrate what can be achieved with perseverance and collaboration. This project not only addresses Bali's waste management issues but also provides a model for how advanced technology can be effectively implemented in developing regions.

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