As one of the centers of rice production in the North Coast of Java, Bekasi Regency faces a challenge that needs to be resolved immediately, namely pollution by rice husk waste. At harvest time, the husks produced from the rice milling process are often exposed to the open air and damage the environment. In the long term, this can damage human health. In addition, even when the rice husk is sold, the results are less profitable. Responding to this fact, a team of lecturers from President University consisting of Mechanical Engineering Study Program of President University lecturer Nanang Ali Sutisna, M.Eng., Management Study Program of President University lecturer Filda Rahmiati, BBA., MBA., and Grace Amin, S.Psi., M.Psi. conducted research through the Community Partnership Program (Program Kemitraan Masyarakat) entitled “Utilization of Rice Husk Waste into Charcoal Briquettes to Increase the Income of Sukamaju Village, Tambelang District, Bekasi Regency”. This research succeeded in getting a grant from the Directorate of Research and Community Service, the Directorate General of Higher Education, Ministry of Education and Culture.
According to these three lecturers, an important step that must be taken to overcome the challenges faced by Sukamaju Village is to turn rice husk into high-value products, namely rice husk briquettes. Through this research, they succeeded in making rice husk briquettes making tool and rice husk briquette press machine. The handover and socialization of the use of the machine were held at the Sukamaju Village Office, Bekasi Regency on Monday, October 7, 2019. The event was attended by the residents, village officials, and youth group (karang taruna) of Sukamaju Village.
The event was divided into two sessions. The first session was socialization on the use of tools and machines provided by the President University lecturer team. In this session, Nanang explained and demonstrated how to burn husks using the tools his team created. “Burning husks using this tool only takes 30-40 minutes, then it’s ready to be molded,” he explained. “But before that, the burned rice husk must be mixed with adhesives such as tapioca flour and then pressed or molded using a press machine and then be dried,” he added.
According to the President University lecturers team, product availability will not generate sale value if there is no one buy the product. For this reason, in the second session, President University Management Study Program Lecturer Dr. Ir. Chairy, S.E., M.M. was presented to provide knowledge about marketing methods that can be done by the people of Sukamaju Village.
He revealed that with the packaging that had been designed by the President University team, rice husk briquettes could be marketed not only at the village organization level, but also online. In a separate interview, the man who currently serves as the Secretary of the President University Foundation said, “The President University team will continue to monitor the process of producing this rice husk briquette so that they produce high-quality products and suitable to the market.”
Regarding the future plan of production and marketing process, Sukamaju Village Secretary Nakim Suhardi said that the youth group would be responsible for the production of the rice husk briquettes and the marketing process would be handed over to the Village Owned Enterprises (Badan Usaha Milik Desa). “We hope that the presence of this machine can increase the income of the people in Sukamaju Village and provide positive activities for youth in this village,” he said.