Balon Balon Ijo


Fossil fuels will run out and we need to make renewable energy more accessible to mitigate global warming. About half of the world's population lives on the coastline, within 100km of the ocean. Floating solar to hydrogen production may be a scalable solution, and at low pressure, hydrogen is safer, opening up the possibility of radical decentralization and energy autonomy.


10 Minutes Video

Global warming is affecting all of us and will be the main driver for future geopolitical events. We’re likely to collectively fail to remain under the target of 1.5ºC  (Harvey, 2022), and developing countries rightfully dispute their obligations of carbon emission reduction in the face of historic emissions from the global north. In 2021, the average monthly wage in Bali was 2,494,000 Indonesia Rupiah (219 SGD, 166 USD) (Statista, 2023), while their carbon emissions were 2.3 metric tons/capita  (as of 2019, for comparison Singapore is 8.3 m3t, USA is 14.7 m3t) (Climate Watch, 2020). The Balinese economy's main sector is tourism, and it is projected to continue growing fast for the foreseeable future. Interestingly, environmentally-conscious locals and tourists and a supportive government have made the adoption of solar relatively fast. “Indonesia is a fast-growing economy, expected to become the 4th largest in the world by 2050. To meet the growing energy demand, the government has set ambitious sustainability targets and pledged to meet net zero emissions by 2060 or earlier.” (IEA, 2022) [...] “One of the world’s largest floating solar photovoltaic (PV) power plants, Cirata, is under construction in Indonesia. [...] Indonesia plans to develop a further 60 floating PV installations to contribute to its target of 23% of power generation from renewables by 2025.” (IEA, 2022). Bali, and the city of Denpasar, its capital is crowded. Developing large solar installations where land is a premium is challenging in a “contested space”. (Wardana, 2018)

One of MIT's most popular courses “How to make (almost) anything” (Gershenfeld, 2012) kickstarted the global FabLab movement, with now over 2000 such labs around the world. Each year, the FabLab Foundation organises the FabFest and this year I was invited to lead a workshop by Tomas Diez, Founder of “FabCity”, yet another “layer” of the network that intends to make FabLabs more connected and relevant to their environment by supporting the sharing of global knowledge and local material resources such as tools towards a more circular and regenerative economy and ecology. I invited 3 lead collaborators Prof Cassinelli (physical computing), Pamela Pascual (blockchain communities), and Prof Ni Made Dwidiani (material science).


With an international ad-hoc group of about 10 volunteer researchers, we built several partially functional prototypes aimed at role-playing what a future where floating solar to hydrogen exists would look and feel like for everyday folks in Indonesia. We designed and built our speculative technology with local materials and operated with a mindset of a startup, rapid prototyping, testing, and not only focusing on the technology and design, but also thinking about the business model and how this new technology could improve locals income as well as the environment with IOT and blockchain open source technologies. We presented our prototype and concept at the FabFest and won the “Special Mention Award”.


Thanks to our local network, we quickly identified a site and community of high potential impact. Since the 2011 construction of the Mandara toll bridge, the Wanasari fishermen next to the Ngurah Rai Airport crab farming operations have been severely impacted by the increased sedimentation (Hendrawan and Asai, 2014) and silting, (Baskara Andika, Kusmana and Nurjaya, 2019). Privately, the crab farmers mentioned that they must import crab from other parts of Indonesia and refrigerate them at a high economic and environmental cost.


We had several meetings and volunteer experiences with the village chief and education chief, and we discussed how we could work together towards piloting a floating solar installation that would be providing 90% of the time free electricity for the Kapoeng Kepiting Restaurant, and 10% dedicated to developing and testing hydrogen and oxygen production, in partnership with Bali Udayana Univerisity with a focus on developing a non-toxic catalyst. The goal would be to improve how much hydrogen can be produced from electrolysing purified brackish seawater, and improve underwater biodiversity with the usage of biocompatible materials and the injection of oxygen underwater to mitigate hypoxia.

In addition to operating the restaurant, the Wanasari fishermen run frequent volunteer educational workshops attended by local and international volunteers to plant and clean mangroves from plastic waste, hatch crabs and generally improve the environment and share their wonderful culture: “Tri Hita Karana has an understanding of the harmony between humans and each other, human harmony with nature, and human harmony with God is a true source of welfare.” (Redi et al., 2020).

Eventually, we would like to understand if the community wants the technology to be implemented,  and what is the threshold size where floating solar hydrogen becomes more affordable than land-based solar to lithium-ion batteries, as the technology and decentralised business scale for the benefit of the indigenous population. It is important to acknowledge that not only the energy production side would need to be upgraded, but also the consumption side as hydrogen can be used for the majority of our energy needs (cooking combustible, transportation fuel, storage of electricity for domestic and industrial processes).

More related content


  1. Baskara Andika, I.B.M., Kusmana, C. and Nurjaya, I.W. (2019) ‘The impact of the construction of Bali Mandala toll road to the mangrove ecosystem at Benoa Bay Bali.’, Journal of Natural Resources and Environmental Management, 9(3), pp. 641–657. Available at: https://www.cabdirect.org/cabdirect/abstract/20219944220 (Accessed: 23 January 2023).
  2. Climate Watch (2020) CO2 emissions (metric tons per capita) - Indonesia | Data. Available at: https://data.worldbank.org/indicator/EN.ATM.CO2E.PC?end=2019&locations=ID&start=1990&view=chart (Accessed: 23 January 2023).
  3. Gershenfeld, N. (2012) ‘How to Make Almost Anything’, 91(6).
  4. Harvey, C. (2022) The World Will Likely Miss 1.5 Degrees C, Why Isn’t Anyone Saying So?, Scientific American. Available at: https://www.scientificamerican.com/article/the-world-will-likely-miss-1-5-degrees-c-why-isnt-anyone-saying-so/ (Accessed: 23 January 2023).
  5. Hendrawan, I. and Asai, K. (2014) ‘Numerical study on tidal currents and seawater exchange in the Benoa Bay, Bali, Indonesia’, Acta Oceanologica Sinica, 33, pp. 90–100. Available at: https://doi.org/10.1007/s13131-014-0434-5.
  6. IEA (2022) Enhancing Indonesia’s Power System – Analysis, International Energy Agency. Available at: https://www.iea.org/reports/enhancing-indonesias-power-system/executive-summary (Accessed: 23 January 2023).
  7. IEA (2022) Scaling up renewables in the Java-Bali power system: A case study, International Energy Agency. Available at: https://www.iea.org/articles/scaling-up-renewables-in-the-java-bali-power-system-a-case-study (Accessed: 23 January 2023).
  8. Motilal, C., Sankat, C.K. and Pun, K.F. (2014) IEM-044: Innovation Management in Small and Medium-Sized Enterprises: A Review of Recent Developments and Models INNOVATION MANAGEMENT IN SMALL AND MEDIUM-SIZED ENTERPRISES: A REVIEW OF RECENT DEVELOPMENTS AND MODELS.
  9. Redi, A. et al. (2020) ‘The Role of Local Wisdom in Protecting Mangrove Forest in Bali Province’, in Proceedings of the Tarumanagara International Conference on the Applications of Social Sciences and Humanities (TICASH 2019). Tarumanagara International Conference on the Applications of Social Sciences and Humanities (TICASH 2019), Barat, Indonesia: Atlantis Press. Available at: https://doi.org/10.2991/assehr.k.200515.009.
  10. Statista (2023) Indonesia: Bali monthly minimum wage, Statista. Available at: https://www.statista.com/statistics/1357191/indonesia-bali-minimum-wage/ (Accessed: 23 January 2023).
  11. Wardana, A. (2018) ‘Legal Engineering in a Contest over Space in Bali’, pp. 1–12.


A film by Pilgrim Laboratory

Director: Hibatum Hakim | hibatulhakim2301@gmail.com | +62 859-5080-5858 Cinematographer: Medy Mahesana Video Editor: Styfe Ricky Menna Music Composer: Agha Praditya

##Credits Bali Fab Fest Team ## Cesar Jung-Harada Pamela Pascual Alvaro Cassinelli Ni Made Dwidiani Ratna Mardiani Mulya Hong Vu Aldo Ikhwanul Khalid Markus Leutwyler Adrian Lai Claire Chaikin-Bryan Andreas Kopp Antonio Gordillo & Ana Chacon Ajeng Wulandari António Chanoca Karma Wangchu

Thanks to

Tomas Diez Primy Jeils Mitalee Parikh Daan Sonnemans Lucy Gillian Arka Kinari, Nova Ruth & Grey Filastine Surya Cafe Seafood Jimbaran Lucka Captain Bobby Made Gabriel Sundoro Wynn Saad Chinoy Regina M Sipos Kampoeng Ketiping, Denpasar Agung Prianta, Jimbaran Hub Sherry Lassiter Neil Gershelfeld Kate Armstrong Norella Coronell Majenta Strongheart Clarissa Redwine Ye Seong Shin Pieter Franken Pierre Levy Gilles Garel Ho Yew Kee Thomas Landrain Abbie Jung-Harada

Partners and Sponsors

Fab Fest Fab Island Singapore Institute of Technology CNAM (Conservatoire National des Arts et Metiers) Paris School of Creative Media, City University, Hong kong Udayana University, Bali Amber Initiative Seeed Studio JOGL (Just One Giant Lab) Helium Foundation Safecast Scoutbots MakerBay Supplyframe FabCity Foundation


More information coming soon.

In progress work here: