Chandigarh startup creates machine to transform stubble into biofuel mobile

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In winter, the skies of Punjab, Haryana, and the surrounding areas become ash grey due to the smoke of the burning of cropstuff (paddy leftovers).

The long-standing practice of farmers burning their crop waste to clear fields to sow during the winter season has not changed despite the existence of solutions such as Super and Happy Seeders that allow you to sow wheat with no hassle due to stubble. Why do farmers continue to burn their garbage, even though the practice is outlawed by authorities?

“There is no solution for managing stubble. Farmers only have 10 days to remove the debris and prepare the fields to plant the following crop. However, even Happy as well as Super Seeders aren’t without their flaws because their process (composting) could take months. Farmers are stuck with no option,” says Varinder Singh Co-founder GFF Innovations. GFF Innovations, which claims to have discovered an answer to the farmer’s pain.

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The startup based in Rajpura has designed an equipment called Moksh that can be mounted to tractors. It will automatically collect the stubble waste of a farmland and convert into an “powdery solution”on-the-go. The leftovers can be utilized as a fuel alternative for heating boilers and brick kilns to make a source of raw materials (binding agent) to create fibreboards, bricks, sustainable packaging solutions, and in the production of insulation paints.

It was founded by serial entrepreneurs Varinder, Nitin Kumar Saluja Nitin Kumar Saluja, as well as Vilas Chhikara the company launched its initial Moksh versionMoksh 1.0 Moksh 1.0–in 2018 and which was followed by the version that has a tracker attached– Moksh 2.0–in 2022.

Varinder and Nitin and Nitin, who collaborate with each other at Chitkara University Research and Innovation Network (CURIN), Punjab, are also co-founders of the start-up 80Wash and Vilas is the CEO of SNPC Machines the Haryana-based startup.

The trio gathered in 2017 to solve the problem of burning stubble.

What is the mechanism that works?

The machine was designed by Chitkara University, Rajpura, and manufactured at the SNPC Machine’s plant in Sonipat it is placed inside the form of a car (tractor).

As a start in the process, the vehicle travels over the farm in order to take in the stubble comprising about 70% to 80 percent water. The second stage involves drying out the waste and increasing the level of moisture up to 10% so that it becomes easier to compress and lighter to be further processed. This is accomplished by using patented “impact drying” technology.

Nitin says, “Impact drying is much more efficient and effective contrasted to other conventional heating method. The water is immediately removed from the device and then sucked through the pump that are installed on the top.”

The next step involves the the removal from Silica, a pollutant of the dried-out stubble to be processed using an alkaline base and microwave technology. After silica is removed, Silica is eliminated the stubble is then crushed in the machine, and the final, powdery material is released from behind.

The entire process is carried out “on-the-go” inside a single machine that requires almost no human involvement, except for the tractor driver and solution collector.

Use cases and business

The powder is advertised as an environmentally sustainable fuel source. It is a viable option to use to replace wood briquettes, which are a renewable fuel, that are utilized in the boilers of sugar mills, paper mills dyeing houses as well as leather and extraction plants for oil along with brick ovens to heat and for combustion , as with every other alternative fuel.

The biofuel’s price is 7 Rs per kg, which is close to the same level, or perhaps less than wood Briquettes.

The application of the technology isn’t restricted to biofuels. It can also be utilized as an source of raw materialsin creating fibreboards as a substitute for wood. Furthermore they can be utilized as raw materials for the production of insulation, thermo-porous paints as well as various packing materials eggs shell trays and so on.

The company has been awarded an award of 25 lakh from the Department of Science and Technology (DST) under the Innovation Growth Program 2.0 in the year 2018 as well as Rs. 40 lakh from the Waste Management Technologies (WMT) program.

The company currently has around the 10 units (Moksh 1.0) in operation and two more (Moksh 2.0) have been in trials and will be operational within the coming months. The latter is in the process of being designed for larger-scale waste management and is expected to be priced at around about Rs 3-4 lakh.

The company plans to earn profits from the sale of equipment and also provide services for farmers. At the moment, it’s operating the machines and is able to sustain its operations through the sale of fuel.

“We are evaluating various revenue models currently. The primary goal is to eliminate farm waste, to avoid burning stubble and offer some relief for farmers who are struggling to get rid of stubble each year, and then burn the same amount due to helplessness,” says Varinder.

The company has achieved about 70 tonnes in powder sales throughout Punjab and Haryana processing approximately 10 tonnes of stubble per day, which covers more than 350 acres of land.

Future plans

“Since the production of it (rice stubble from paddy) is an annual industry We are also looking at the management of other materials, such as fruit waste. The machines can be set up in a way that suits the requirements. We’ve contacted numerous juice companies and applications for off-season are being designed and carried out at the same time,” says Nitin.

In addition to conducting large-scale trials of Moksh 2.0 The company also plans to build additional machines and expand operations in other states. In addition to looking for external funding The founders hope to join forces with agricultural-based engineering firms in the near future.

“The demand is enormous however it’s a capital intensive business. So, we’re adopting a cautious and strategic approach to growing our company,” the co-founders add.

Read more Roche plans to buy Good Therapeutics’ lead drug program for $250 million. 

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