Deriving energy out of waste

Young start-up, which has set up a bio-refinery plant in Chakan, Pune is currently producing 2G diesel-equivalent fuel from agricultural waste and is validated as a replacement for diesel fuel.

The movement to derive energy out of waste products in India is growing. As the country explores generating eco-friendly energy and the use of alternative fuels, which will also reduce the humungous oil import bill, there is a growing band of entrepreneurs bullish on this sector. S Viraraghavan is one of them. An MBA graduate from IIM Kolkata, S Viraraghavan, also known as ‘Vira’ among his friends, started his
career with consumer goods giant Godrej in 1990. During his 29-year journey in the corporate world, Vira worked in several key positions including with global brands such as Cargill and Pepsi among others.
However, his passion for the environment and strong association with farmers while working at Cargill soon became his calling. After a longdrawn introspection and conversations with some friends, Vira shifted gear from his corporate life to set up a company in 2018 to produce ‘drop-in fuels’. Three friends soon joined and thus began the start-up’s journey. The investment for the start-up, called Greenjoules, was mainly bootstrapped from their own savings. The word ‘Joules’, as per definition, is a unit of work or energy equal to the work done by a force of one Newton acting through a distance of one metre. Registered under the ‘Start-up India’ programme Greenjoules: deriving energy out of waste Young start-up, which has set up a bio-refinery plant in Chakan, Pune. Greenjoules which prefers to call itself a knowledge provider for creating energy from waste, is targetting an ambitious Rs 1,000 crore worth of business in the next couple of years. Using its indigenously developed technology and raw material combination, Greenjoules produces 2G (Second Generation) bio-fuels, predominantly a diesel-equivalent fuel, from agricultural waste processing. The company claims that the bio-fuel developed may cost up to Rs 10 cheaper than conventional diesel . “We are talking to various investors who can fund the project and run it independently. Greenjoules will provide them with the technology, raw material so that the whole thing works” said VS Shridhar, CEO, Greenjoules, during a recent interaction with Autocar Professional. The company claims to have indigenously developed intellectual properties around the process of developing the drop-in fuels. According to the start-up founders, setting up a new 100 KL bio-fuel plant requires at least Rs 80 crore, which they claim can be recovered in about 24-30 months. Greenjoules has plans to set up refineries capable of 7,500 KL of bio-fuels per year. “We have identified locations close to the raw material sources. These bio-refineries will have an all-India footprint creating a network of mediumsized plants producing for local markets and creating many opportunities for employment and local resource utilisation,” added Shridhar.

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