PUNE: City-based environment conservationist and entrepreneur Priyadarshan Sahasrabuddhe has won the Green Skills Innovation Challenge organized by US-based Ashoka Changemakers in association with HSBC. ‘Vaayu’, a process developed by this IIT B alumnus of converting food waste into green fuel/energy has found him a place in the top 12 among 348 competitors from across the world. This win will get him a grant of USD 20,000/- for further research and expansion.
The Green Skills Innovation Challenge was organized by Ashoka Changemakers, USA in association with HSBC and was open to social entrepreneurs in selected markets with ventures that equip individuals and communities with the skills needed to thrive towards a green economy. The results were declared on the website of Ashoka Changemakers last week.
“With the climate crisis accelerating day by day, initiatives like ‘Vaayu’ can help provide solutions to the problems through common people. ‘Vaayu’ can be set up by individuals at their homes, at restaurants, corporate canteens, and in housing societies. Through this, waste gets managed locally, fossil energy is substituted by renewable energy and helps create green jobs.”
Chakraakaar Lifestyle Solutions Private Limited, the organization under its founder, Priyadarshan Sahasrabuddhe received the award for two objectives that the initiative ‘Vaayu’ is fulfilling. Firstly, ‘Vaayu’ gives the power to the common man to make their own energy from food waste, and secondly, it has the potential to increase the earnings of the sweepers and waste pickers by 10 times.
Priyadarshan will now get USD 20,000 of grant funding from a total prize fund of USD 230,000 and thus will also have an opportunity to scale this project up with mentorship from Ashoka and HSBC.
‘Vaayu’ is a biogas technology/process that aims to empower common people to make their own energy from local biomass resources. Additionally, by training waste pickers to operate and maintain the system. The team envisions transforming its role to energy suppliers. This will give them an opportunity to earn ten times their livelihood with dignity along with solving the food waste problem at the source.
Vaayu works to convert the food waste without crushing it into burnable methane gas, which can be used as cooking fuel. Currently, about 2.5 tons/day of food waste is managed at the source. It saves around 3,000 cylinders worth of LPG per year and offsets 125 tons of fossil carbon dioxide emissions.
Speaking on the achievement, Priyadarshan said,
The organization had also been awarded the ‘Green Enterprise’ award on 28th Entrepreneur’s Day by ‘Entrepreneurs’ International’, a charitable trust that promotes entrepreneurship.
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