Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Power from rice husk: Virginia venture for Bihar villages

Washington, May 14 Two Virginia University students have started a project with an India-based partner to supply electricity to villages in Bihar by burning rice husks, a process that may also help reduce carbon emissions.

So far, two pilot rice husk generators are providing power to about 10,000 rural Indians, which will save 200 tonnes of emissions annually for each village if compared to generation of power from diesel or coal, the university said in a statement here.

The two students are Manoj Sinha and Charles Ransler, from the university's Darden School of Business and their partner is Gyanesh Pandey, an engineer who oversees things on the ground in India.

The project may help turn the huge piles of husks that accumulate in many "rice belt" villages into two valuable products: electricity and ash that can be sold as an ingredient for cement, the institute said.

The business plan of Husk Power Systems calls for a rapid expansion that will put the miniature power plants in hundreds more villages within a few years.

The plan recently received several votes of confidence as college business plan competitions have awarded it almost USD 100,000 in prize money, including USD 50,000 for winning the Social Innovation Competition at the University of Texas on May 2, USD 35,000 for second place at MIT's Ignite Clean Energy competition on May 12 and a USD 10,000 top prize from the University of Virginia on April 7.

Source: PTI

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