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Converting pine needles into electricity

  • Company
  • Energy
  • India
  • 2012
  • Exited

The challenge

While 85 percent of villages in Uttarakhand, India have been connected to the state electrical grid since 2005, seasonal power shortages and hilly terrain with poor transmission infrastructure create a very unreliable supply of electricity in the area. People frequently use kerosene as a cooking and backup lighting source. Additionally, pine forests are expanding rapidly in the region, pushing out other species while being susceptible to the forest fires that are frequent in the Western Himalayas.

The innovation

Avani’s 120 kW power plants convert pine needles into electricity, which is fed directly into the existing grid, providing reliable and clean energy to the area. Local women collect the pine needles used in the gasification process, creating reliable employment in the area. Households also use pine charcoal, a byproduct of Avani’s power plants, as a replacement for kerosene for their cooking needs.

The impact

The company’s technology transforms the region’s pine needle problem into an energy solution, supporting the local economy and decreasing the risk of forest fires. Each power plant creates significant employment opportunities with trained community members operating the plants and collecting the pine needles. Around 7,500 farmers in the area also benefit from reduced threat of forest fires.