Student stories

Converting waste to energy in Indonesia

Satria Brunner

Comestoarra.com

“At the beginning of my studies, I was constantly asking professors, ‘How am I able to take action and dive into the renewable energy field? What can I do aside from research to help mitigate climate change and the global waste crisis?’”

Mechanical engineering student Satria Brunner spent his second international co-op work term working to convert biomass waste into energy in Indonesia. Blending his engineering and business studies with his goal to pursue a career in renewable energy, he used his time in Indonesia to hone his engineering skills, take part in the Detailed Engineering Design of the Solid Waste Processing Technology at the Source for the Ministry of Environment and Forestry of Indonesia, and co-author a published paper about the Solid Waste Processing Technology at the Source program.

Satria has planned to study engineering since high school, driven by a passion for alternative energy development and waste management.

“At the beginning of my studies, I was constantly asking professors, ‘How am I able to take action and dive into the renewable energy field? What can I do aside from research to help mitigate climate change and the global waste crisis?’” he says.

Satria was intrigued with companies who make their products accessible to help solve local community issues. So when he saw a co-op posting by Comestoarra.com, an Indonesia-based start-up that a works with local communities to help them become self-sustainable in waste conversion, he knew it would be the right fit.

 

Following his employers’ philosophy of community involvement, Satria lived with locals and took part in the Ende culture of eastern Indonesia during his work term. Born in Indonesia, raised in a Hawaii, and now studying in Canada, Satria connected to the beautiful natural environment that the region has to offer. “Growing up I spent a lot of time in the ocean and hiking up mountains,” he says, a background that influenced both his decision to study at UVic and his time on an international co-op.

Moving forward, Satria hopes to continue pursuing renewable energy sources, performing research on the prospects of using biomass waste as feedstock for energy. After graduation, he plans to test the feasibility of introducing similar processes in Canada.

“My work term gave me a stronger reason to continue a career focused on renewables,” he says. “I was surrounded by a number of great mentors and teammates that came from different educational, cultural, and working backgrounds. They always spared their time if I had questions or ideas I wanted to bring to the table.”

More about Engineering and computer science co-op