Powered by rice husk? Just ask villagers in India

    Above: An iPhone. Below: A rice field after a reaping. Photo by: ramkrsna | CC BY-SA and wanko | CC BY

    Ever thought about powering households and schools or run irrigation systems using only agricultural by-products otherwise left to rot?

    In the Indian state of Bihar, that’s exactly how thousands of rural villagers get electricity. Some 250 villages there benefit from biomass-based power plants that produce electricity using only rice husks, a widely available resource in these farming communities. Power plants designed by the social enterprise Husk Power Systems transform discarded rice husks into gas, which then powers a turbine to generate clean, cheap electricity.

    Other providers may use biomass along with diesel or other kinds fuel - but not this one. And Husk Power Systems, which started its first power plant in 2007, is now working wit government in Bihar to help up to 6,000 villages transition from kerosene lamps and diesel engines to cheap biofuel in the next four years.

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    About the author

    • Ivy Mungcal

      As former senior staff writer, Ivy Mungcal contributed to several Devex publications. Her focus is on breaking news, and in particular on global aid reform and trends in the United States, Europe, the Caribbean, and the Americas. Before joining Devex in 2009, Ivy produced specialized content for U.S. and U.K.-based business websites.

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