Technological appropriateness of biomass production in rural settings: Addressing water hyacinths (E. crassipes) problem in Lake Tondano, Indonesia

Lantos A. Pin, Bartjan J.W. Pennink, Herman Balsters, Corinthias P.M. Sianipar*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

8 Citations (Scopus)
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Climate change has induced an excessive growth of water hyacinths, which produces unintended consequences for the surrounding ecosystem. Particularly, water hyacinth is a major problem throughout the world's tropical zone, which largely consists of rural regions. One way to address the water hyacinths problem is to convert them into biomass. However, typical biomass production technologies have not considered local settings when they are installed in rural areas lacking knowledge and resources. This study aims at assessing the technological appropriateness of biomass production from water hyacinths in rural settings under limited resources and knowledge. This research proposes two scenarios (i.e., high-tech and low-tech) to utilise water hyacinths from Lake Tondano, Indonesia, as the case study. The scenarios consider local settings of communities living around the lake by applying scenario-based design science according to Weiringa's adaptation of the five-stage regulative cycle of Van Strien. The assessment stage employs three levels of technological appropriateness (techno-economic, environmental, social) to assess each scenario for the rural context. Results show that the low-tech design is more appropriate for rural settings around Lake Tondano. Both designs are technically able to resolve the water hyacinths problem; however, the low-tech design is more practical for local communities, addressing the environmental problem while simultaneously boosting socioeconomic developments. In general, the small-scale nature of the more appropriate design applies to other rural areas, with which those areas can utilise various biomass sources while benefitting their socioeconomic situations. Further studies need to assess the technological appropriateness of the appropriate design again based on rural contexts in their location(s).

Original languageEnglish
Article number101658
JournalTechnology in Society
Publication statusPublished - Aug-2021


  • Appropriate technology
  • Biomass and bioenergy
  • Sustainable rural development
  • Technological change
  • Technology design
  • Water hyacinth

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