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IIM, engineering grads turn urban waste into energy

According to reports, a group of IIM and engineering graduates has come out with a solution for waste management in the urban areas. The first product launched by Bangalore-based Green Power Systems makes use of organic waste from the urban kitchen to produce bio-fuel and manure. Green Power Systems, is one among the start-ups mentored by early stage seed-funding, technology-commercialisation and incubation firm i2india Ventures under its public-private partnership with Department of Science and Technology.

The group of 20 young graduates has been working on the compact biowaste-to-energy reactor project since 2010. According to Mainak Chakraborthy, CEO of Green Power Systems, unlike the traditional biogas plants, the new product uses kitchen waste and is suitable for urban areas as it consumes very less space.

“The reactor can produce 145 cubic metre of biogas equivalent to 70 kg of LPG from one tonne of waste. The reactor occupies 80 to 150 sq ft space and can be kept in the backyard or terrace. It needs 50 kg to 1.5 tonne of waste a day and is suitable for apartment complexes, hotels, restaurants, malls and mass kitchens,” he said.

“The product is affordable for such institutions as the pay-back period is one-and half to two-and-half years. The plant also produces 200 to 250 kg of organic manure, which can be either utilised by the client or is procured back by us,” he said.

The product has been made commercially available in Bangalore and Hyderabad and in one year GPS plans to launch it across South India. By the end of 2013, the company also aspires to make it available in other regions.

GPS was the only Indian company to be featured among the top 50 startups at the Global Entrepreneur Week by Kauffman Foundation. It has also received the first Ignition grant from Department of Bio-technology. The company is part of Technovate, the PPP project by i2india Ventures and Department of Science and Technology. I2india makes 75 per cent funding into Technovate and rest comes from the department.

I2india, the Indian firm of UK-based Imperial Innovations, has been seed-funding and mentoring entrepreneurs, with a hope to build up at least three to five companies every year in waste management, health, mobile technology and renewable energy.

“i2ihealth is incubating a few products in the medical technology space. A few other incubating companies include one in the mobile entertainment space and another one that looks at licensing technology of replacing steel by aluminum in automobiles,” said Deepam Misra, CEO, i2india Ventures.

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