Pushing geothermal research in Indonesia, Pri Utami of Gadjha Mada University

Pushing geothermal research in Indonesia, Pri Utami of Gadjha Mada University Pri Utami, UGM, Yogyakarta/ Indonesia (source: YouTube/ DW, screenshot)
Alexander Richter 11 Jan 2021

In an interview with Deutsche Welle, Pri Utami, Head of the Geothermal Research Center, Gadjah Mada University (UGM), Yogyakarta and VP of the International Geothermal Association shares here thoughts on building geothermal excellence in research in Indonesia.

A nice interview/ article was shared the other day by German international news outlet Deutsche Welle, Pri Utami, Head of the Geothermal Research Center at Gadjah Mada University (UGM), in Yogyakarta, Indonesia is one of the Global Geothermal Ambassadors of the International Geothermal Association (IGA) and a member of the “Women in Geothermal” (WING) group. This contribution helps Indonesia to develop clean and renewable energy from geothermal energy. She is determined to make Indonesia the center of world geothermal energy development, so a recent article and interview with Deutsche Welle.

In Indonesia alone, North Sulawesi is the most advanced province in the use of geothermal for electrical energy . About 40% of its electricity supply comes from geothermal energy, according to data from the website of a private investment and development company, Indonesia Investments.

Geothermal energy in the country and its exploration for power generation, education and tourism potential were studied by a female scientist named Pri Utami.

Pri Utami is ambassador for the International Geothermal Association and Women in Geothermal leads geothermal research in Lahendong, Tomohon, North Sulawesi together with the local government. Its role is very important, namely to ensure that the geothermal process is converted into electrical energy that is sustainable and safe for the environment.

“[…] The steam that has been separated from the water is sent to a geothermal power plant. There the heat energy from the steam is converted into motion, and from the movement power is converted into electricity. Then the water that has been separated from the steam is injected back into the earth , through wells known as re-injection wells. The purpose of recovering hot extracted geothermal fluid is to maintain the continuity of the hydrological cycle from underground processes, and the second is to preserve the environment, “explained Pri Utami.

Advancing stagnant research

Apart from her profession as a teaching staff, Pri Utami also serves as the Head of the Geothermal Research Center, Gadjah Mada University (UGM), Yogyakarta. This research center that was once inactive is back under her leadership. Heru Hendrayana, Head of the UGM Geological Engineering Department, revealed this.

“The study center under her leadership has reached a very high level in the international world, both in her research, development and teaching. After a longer period of inactivity, she took control after her return.  Now, this center for geothermal studies has become one of the very, very active study centers at Gadjah Mada University. ”

Pri Utami, who completed her postgraduate studies at the University of Auckland New Zealand, is also active not only in the geothermal world of the country, but also in the world scene. She received an award from the Government of New Zealand for her role in developing cooperation in the geothermal sector between New Zealand and ASEAN countries. In addition, she currently also serves as Vice President of the International Geothermal Association for the 2020-2025 term.

Potential clean energy from geothermal

The Indonesian government is committed to increasing the use of renewable energy by up to 23% by 2025. Geothermal energy can be an option, especially because of its enormous potential, reaching more than 23.9 gigawatts (GW).

However, the utilization of geothermal-based electricity is still small. This was admitted by the Minister of Energy and Mineral Resources, Arifin Tasrif. “The installed capacity of geothermal electricity that has been utilized has only reached 2.13 GW or 8.9 percent of Indonesia’s 23.9 GW of geothermal potential,” he said, as quoted from the website.

For Pri Utami, geothermal development is absolutely necessary in order to release the world’s dependence on fossil energy. “My big dream is that Indonesia becomes the center of geothermal excellence. […] besides we have the largest geothermal potential in the world, we must become a country that depends on energy, one of which is on clean, renewable energy such as geothermal.”

In addition, as one of the countries with the largest geothermal energy reserves in the world, Pri Utami hopes that Indonesia can become a leader in research in the field of renewable energy.

“I have a big dream that the virtue of research, important discoveries about geothermal energy from Indonesia, will be carried out by Indonesian sons and daughters and the results can be known by the wider community, the international community and they can learn from Indonesia.”

Watch Pri Utami’s progress in the #SrikandiHebatIndonesia series on the DW Indonesia Youtube channel.

Source: Deutsche Welle