According to reports, Greenpeace on Thursday announced the winners of its international innovation challenge “A Watershed Moment in India” 2013 here. It saw participation from over 1500 people across 58 countries two designs for renewable energy powered, portable, affordable irrigation systems for small farmers in Bihar.
The challenge, which was open from September who created 256 innovative ideas. It was not a secretive , but instead open, collaborative and transparent.
Participants uploaded their designs to a web platform, where they were viewable by the public (including other competing teams) who commented on all designs and suggested improvements, which the designers took into consideration to iterate and adapt their designs.
Everybody benefitted from the community approach, and better solutions evolved from the “We are overwhelmed by the participation that we saw in this challenge. It is encouraging to see so many passionate innovators coming forward to design a solution which is not only environment friendly but also makes economic sense”, said an Greenpeace campaigner.
“We need to shift away from dirty fossil fuel and embrace clean energy at a faster pace to ensure a sustainable future and we will need more such solutions,” said Manish Ram, Energy campaigner, Greenpeace India. Solutions covered a wide spectrum of technologies, from solar PV and solar thermal to waste biogas powered designs and more exotic choices such as hydrogen/fuel cell designs, Ram said.
The winning designs are all renewable energy powered pumps that fit into the lifestyle and budget of India’s small-scale farmers. In the next project phase, the prototypes will be given to Bihar farmers, who will use them and then share the feedback.
This feedback will then be incorporated in the design to further improve it. The optimized designs will then be showcased in a Clean Pumping Fair to manufacturers and distributors.
“Greenpeace is playing the role of the catalyst; we bring together designers, investors, manufacturers and distributors and create the environment were agreements for mass production of the pumps can be made.
These pumps will create a new market segment – the clean-powered, portable, cheap pump for small farmers – as a viable alternative to expensive, dirty diesel pumps,” said Ingo Boltz, Manager,
The challenge ran for 10 weeks and the participants got an international platform to discuss, seek guidance and innovate. The submissions were reviewed by a high calibre jury that comprises of experts from the development, agriculture and renewable energy sector.
Speaking on this occasion, Asian Development Research Institute (ADRI) Shaibal Gupta said Bihar is an innovation hub. People in villages are very good with mathematics and that is what is accelerating innovation in the state.
Bihar is south within south. Global collaboration for local innovation is the way forward and congratulated for this highly successful challenge, he said.
The vice chancellor of Central university Bihar Janak Pandey said that it is high time that the solutions are being implemented on ground. Only then will it be easier to make people aware, he added.