On Roads Less Travelled
Who is not troubled by the mounting power bill resulting from fuel-guzzling ACs? Well, Fabonix, a Bhubaneswar-based startup, has devised a sustainable temperature control technology that produces a refrigerating effect inside buildings using solar and wind energy resources available at the roof top.
Patna-based Astric helps thousands of students continue their IT education, despite power cuts, by using renewable energy and shared computing. The company has helped the Bihar government put the technology into use in around 2,000 schools. The innovation has helped achieve more than 50% energy savings and Zero Carbon Footprint computer labs.
“We are basically trying to bridge the gap between technology and governance. We have succeeded to a great extent but a lot more needs to be done. We are also focusing on innovations involving solar energy, which is plentiful in the state. This will help us reduce our carbon footprint,” said Prabhat Kumar Sinha, founder, Astric Computers.
“We are particularly targeting rural areas as they don’t have access to new technologies. Besides, we are also focusing on computer-learning settings which are energy intensive. Through our technologies, we have been able to reduce energy consumption by as much as 50%,” he added.
Similarly, Kolkata-based Neogi Technologies converts waste plastic into fuel oil! While the innovation removes plastics, which are environmental pollutants, it results into a pollution-free way of making fuel oil, which are depleting fast.
“We have realized that plastic bags are a necessity today. No amount of sanctions or restrictions can limit their use. We can however recycle them or use them in some way that does not harm our environment. We have succeeded in producing diesel from plastics that has 10,000 calorific value, very close to the diesel obtained from petroleum,” said Samir Kumar Neogi, Managing Director, Neogi Technologies.
“Apart from introducing innovative technologies, we are also looking at other ways to reduce our carbon footprint. We are introducing mobile diesel dispensers which will bring down pollution by taking diesel to big units and doing away with all fuel loss during commutation to and from gas stations,” added Neogi.
Astric, Fabonix, and Neogi are among a growing number of small and medium enterprises (SMEs) dedicatedly developing and using clean technology innovations by harnessing energy resources as diverse as solar power, wind energy, sea waves, even human body energy and creating energy-efficient products such as solar panels and clean biofuels. There are also businesses such as The Ministry of Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSME) has identified these innovators along with many others to be nurtured and their creations developed. The Ministry has featured the innovators in an e-book titled “Cleanovators”.
“It is important to assess the depth, breadth and quality of Cleantech innovations in the Indian SME sector. I hope, it will catalyze our development sector professionals, policy makers, and researchers to understand, create and support many more valuable innovations with clean technologies in the Indian landscape,” said Kalraj Mishra, the Union Minister for Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises.
Governments, world bodies come together to push the green agenda
The Global Cleantech Innovation Programme (GCIP), the result of a collaboration between the Global Environment Fund (GEF), United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO) and the MSME, aims at encouraging SMEs to adopt and promote clean technology. The initiative is largely driven by the Government’s own commitment to push green growth and reduce carbon footprint.
“The GCIP employs a competition-based approach to find the most promising innovators across the country, while its business acceleration programme supports, promotes and ‘de-risks’ participating innovators and connects them to potential investors, customers, and partners. The Programme in India has incentivized clean technology adopters among MSMEs by providing a platform for recognition, reward, and replication,” said Pradeep Monga, Director of the Department of Energy, UNIDO.
“The programme is a good initiative but there is a long way to go. We do not have enough support and backup. This results in many wonderful innovations getting lost. Industry must come forward and support such initiatives,” said one of the innovators.
The United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO) with support from the Global Environment Facility (GEF) is currently implementing the Global Cleantech Innovation Program (GCIP) in seven countries namely Armenia, India, Malaysia, Pakistan, South Africa, Thailand and Turkey. The aim of the program is create an ecosystem of clean technology innovations in the small and medium enterprise sector to catalyze low-carbon industrial growth in the country.
There are also industries and businesses which are contributing to reducing carbon footprint and a cleaner environment in their own creative ways. For example, Deskera, a business software developer, creates applications that remove the necessity of paper-based conventional modes of accounting; thus helping the planet go green. Such ventures should also get the support of the establishment and big capital.
“Now, you don’t have to do manual accounting or customer relationship management. All such processes are highly energy-intensive, leaving a large carbon footprint. We have automated a lot of those processes that are part of the natural life cycle of a company. With proper nurturing and support from the government and the private sector, ventures like ours have the potential to turn the tables,” said Shashank Dixit, CEO, Deskera.