Tirta Ankara team designs integrated, automated agricultural system

Tirta Arkara Team from Faculty of Engineering University of Indonesia, during their presentation. (Photo: Prive. Doc)

IO, Jakarta – Four students of the Faculty of Engineering University of Indonesia, members of Tirta Arkara, have designed an Automated Integrated Aquaponic (AIA) Greenhouse System, known as “aquaponics”, combining a plant cultivation system (hydroponics) and a fish culture system (aquaculture) into an integrated environmentally-friendly operation. The draft, contained in a paper entitled “Automated Independent Aquaponic (AIA) Greenhouse System”, was presented at the Project Management Challenge: Indonesian Chapter competition last month.

Thanks to this design, Tirta Arkara, consisting of Anisya Nurpratina from the Environmental Engineering class of 2017 and M. Ramly Novriansyah, Satria Adipradana Parlambang, and Rizal Firdaus from the Civil Engineering class of 2017, won second place in the annual competition which was held virtually. The competition was participated in by 31 teams from 14 universities in Indonesia, Malaysia and China.

AIA Greenhouse applies a Nutrient Film (NFT) which makes minerals produced by fish recirculated to be absorbed by plants. The invention aims to improve sustainable agriculture, minimizing emissions to the environment while demonstrating production efficiency.

In a limited production area, it is hoped that it will eventually be able to yield fresh produce in large volumes. “We use solar panels to supply 50% of our electricity needs. We also use a rainwater harvesting system to keep the water supply environmentally friendly,” said Ramly, leader of the Tirta Arkara team, as quoted by Ui.ac.id, Tuesday (9/3/2021).

“Based on the team’s simulation, for every 100 m2 of production area, the AIA Greenhouse System can produce 754 kg of vegetables per month and 160-200 kg of fish per 10 months. The solar power panels used can produce 225-240 kWh of power per day. With an estimated cost of around IDR 1.1 billion, a greenhouse as a production area can be built in 102 days,” he added.

This system not only overcomes the problem of limited agricultural land but also faces problems arising from conventional agricultural systems, namely, the greenhouse effect that impacts climate change. Statistics Indonesia in 2018 stated that the area of rice fields in Indonesia had decreased to 7.1 million hectares compared to 7.75 million hectares in 2013.

An increase in population that is not matched by equal distribution of available agricultural land can lead to problems of national food security. In 2019, Indonesia was ranked 62 out of 119 countries in the world in the food security index compiled by The Global Food Security Index.

Dean of the Faculty of Engineer ing University of Indonesia, Dr. Ir. Hendri D. S. Budiono, M.Eng., said, “This student design system is a real contribution from the Faculty of Engineering, the University of Indonesia, as an alternative solution faced by the Indonesian people. We hope that the AIA Greenhouse System can help solve the problem of limited agricultural land that is currently evident in densely-populated areas in Indonesia, such as in Java.” (est)