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India, with its 1.2 billion inhabitants - each of whom produce 1.5 metric tons (approx. the weight of a car) of CO2 yearly - suffers from the harmful consequences of unsustainable energy consumption better than most countries. However, a staggering 44% of India’s population lacks access to electricity, many of who reside in one of the country’s 125 thousand rural villages. Often, the only source of power is dirty gasoline-powered generators. This makes air pollution unavoidable, as CO2 fumes fill towns, workplaces, and even homes.

This dire state of things, however, is anything but hopeless. Husk Power Systems have taken it upon themselves to bring new hope of cleaner, more sustainable, and widely available energy in remote places where electricity is in low supply. This is made possible thanks to biomass-based power plants, utilizing proprietary gasification technology, converting abundant agricultural residue into electricity. This energy is then distributed to households via 84 microgrids. The advantages are apparent at first glance: the power generated is better quality – fewer outages, a steadier supply – and cheaper.

The work of Husk Power Systems has implications, which reach far beyond health matters, and extend into the quality of the lives of the people it affects: Access to electricity is important socially, as many villagers are now able to enjoy life outside of their homes, once the sun goes down. This, in turn, encourages business owners to stay open later, driving local economies, and facilitating development. The farmers also profit, as their husks and other biomass can be sold to the Husk Power Systems. Not to mention, most importantly for future generations, electricity provides a safe environment for children to study past nightfall.

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  • Title: Husk Power Systems
  • External Link: Husk Power Systems - INDEX: Design to Improve Life® website
  • Sustainable Development Goals targeted: Affordable & Clean Energy, Climate Action
  • INDEX: Award Cycle: 2013
  • INDEX: Award Category: Community
  • Driver(s) of Change: Bioengineering, Climate Change, Entrepeneurship, Income Inequality, New Economic Models, Post Fossil Fuel Energy
  • Designed By: Gyanesh Pandey
  • Country of Design : India

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