Sunday, March 15, 2009

Husk Power Systems: On the Way to Electrify Rural India’s Rice Belt

Chip Ransler and Manoj Sinha, founders of the Husk Power Systems (HPS) have found a way to give electricity to parts of India which still manage without one of the most essential energies today. This company focuses on providing power to the people in villages using rice husk (rice being abundantly grown here) through a small, off-grid system. The company already has five such projects operating in various parts and hopes to increase the number to a hundred.

Rice husk, which forms about one-third of the gross weight of grains is usually either burnt or left to rot in the fields by the farmers. This process leads to emission of harmful greenhouse gases like methane. HPS uses gasifiers to heat the husk (rice, wheat or corn) and then the gases thus released are filtered and passed through diesel-like engines to generate power. The left over debris will contain silica and this is sold to the concrete makers. The company is charging only $900-$1000 per KWh at the moment, which is far less compared to power generated from other sources including solar and wind.

The company is looking forward to setting up more projects in other places and anticipates providing power to over 2,500 villages in a decade. Agricultural waste being converted to electricity and minerals thereby saving the environment from its harmful effects is an applauding innovation by the company. Well done HPS… Via

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