Sand, Alternative Energy Future


ENERGY is an important part in community life, because almost all human activity always requires energy. For example, for lighting, industrial processes or to move the necessary household appliances electrical energy; for both two-wheel drive vehicles and four needed gasoline, and still a lot of equipment around human life requires energy.
SOME of the energy used in Indonesia comes from fossil energy in the form of petroleum and natural gas. Energy can also be obtained from water-driven turbines and generate electrical energy. Are now widely known natural potential in providing alternative energy of fossil energy, including energy from nuclear reactors, energy from wind power or energy from the sun, and so forth. Why at this time to consider alternative energy for the future? This issue starts from the energy supply of the fossil is very limited and is expected to expire in the next few years. Thus, many countries, especially those that do not have supplies of fossil energy and depends on the countries exporting oil and natural gas, has started preparing himself to look for alternative energy and conduct national programs to conserve energy use. Both of these activities are done in parallel, very large government involvement in the implementation of the program, especially in the dissemination of research results and development in the field of energy. At the annual meeting of experts in May 2000 in silisium Tromse, Norway, as reported Stren magazine dated 9 November 2000, obtained the idea to use sand as a source of alternative energy future that is expressed by Prof. Nobert Auner from the University of Frankfurt, Germany. This idea gained after he listened to the presentation of PT Tamme Gudrun Wacker, Berghausen, Germany, on "Silisium and Copper Production of Silicon Dioxide in a Dangerous Mixture". This theme is based on the experience of PT Wacker was appointed in 1998 to produce silane (intermediate products in the production process of silicon). Silisium storage silos and copper dioxide showed a very high increase in temperature, from room temperature to 200 degrees Celsius and mixed materials in silos has become very hard. Furthermore, the silo was reduced to half its contents, in the hope the temperature will drop. However, the temperature in the silo remains high, even temperatures in the middle silo figures show 400 degrees Celsius. Workers are trying to reduce the temperature of the silo by spraying water on the outside of the silo, because it is very dangerous when water reacts with silisium there will be a tremendous reaction heat, can even cause an explosion in the silo. This effort was not successful, then the efforts taken by flowing nitrogen gas and argon gas to further reduce the temperature of the silo. This last effort is taken to show positive results, the temperature returned to normal silo. At the time of the distribution of argon gas into the silo, known of the "lava" in a mixture of materials in the silo. This lava that gives ideas for Prof. Nobert Auner to use sand that has its major constituent silisium can be used as a source of alternative energy future. That condition is the basic idea for using sand as fuel. Based on the condition that occurs in the PT Wacker and the results of research at the University of Frankfurt, then there are several possibilities in the utilization of the sand.  
1. Sand found in many places, either in the form of rocks or sand as found in the desert. The sand is mostly composed by silisiumdioksida, so it can be used as a raw material production silisium. In processing silisiumdioksida be silisium or metal material which is gray usable and environmentally friendly energy provided by nature, namely wind energy or energy from the sun. Silisium is non-toxic materials and has an energy content such as carbon, which is the core of fossil energy. Energy in silisium stored securely because of the chemical bond, and can be moved to another place safely. As a comparative material in Table I is shown the amount of energy generated by several alternative energy sources. See Table 1. 
 2. Silisium purely an industrial raw material that is worth billions of dollars, because silisium is the raw material for producing computer chips and silicon. Of silicon can still be produced in several kinds of goods such as advanced materials for paints, artificial breasts, cosmetic ingredients, contact-lens, ceramics, and tires. When done silisium production process into silicon liquid by-product obtained, Tetramethylsilan (TMS) which has an energy fuel for gasoline from petroleum. If TMS is burned, it will produce energy and less CO2 than gasoline and clean sand. Thus, TMS can be used as an alternative fuel of the future, although keep in mind sand produced during the combustion process.3. Silisium reactor is a reactor that is environmentally friendly, because in the process of combustion to produce energy, this reactor using O2 and N2 gases are widely available in free air. The heat generated from combustion processes can be used to run turbines that can generate electrical energy. In addition to the heat energy generated in the combustion process also produced sand and silisium nitrite, which can be used to produce ceramic or glass. In addition, silisium nitrite can be used as a coating material that resists scratches, humidity, fire, and acid. In addition it also produced the gas which has 80 percent of the gas composition of N2, CO2, and O2 is similar to the composition of gases in the atmosphere so as not to cause a lot of pollution problems. As of silisium nitrite itself can be produced gas or ammonia NH3, which can also be used as fuel for motor drive or the cars in the future. In addition, ammonia can also be used as raw material for manufacture of urea fertilizer or fertilizer nitrogen. If this can be implemented, it will be done to improve the process for producing urea fertilizer, ie no longer uses the classical Haber-Bosch process that requires high temperatures and pressures and require an expensive process costs. In addition, CO2 gas, which are removed during the process can be used as a base for the manufacture of methane, a fuel substitute for gasoline. The burning of methane gas will also produce CO2 gas again, but according to Daniel Herbst of the University of Karlsruhe, Germany, can also be produced liquid fuel that is free of CO2 through biotechnological processes or electrolysis. Initial knowledge about the use of sand as an alternative fuel in the future still needs further development. But these scientific breakthroughs require attention from all parties including government, corporate, and research institutes or universities that give priority in the development of future energy. In Indonesia, which has been spoiled by the variety of its natural amenities, is still very low concern for energy use effectively. It is quite necessary amended in anticipation of the approaching era of globalization, because the issue of energy use or energy management and environmental management will become an important issue of world trade products. With the implementation of ISO 14000 on environmental management and ISO 14040 on Life Cycle Assessment (LCA) is increasingly reminds us that management of environment, natural resources, and energy management will surely be one of the important issues in the world of international trade. (Oleh Wahyu Suparton , Jurusan Teknologi Industri Pertanian, Fakultas Teknologi Pertanian UGM Yogyakarta)