In the third post of our series on new incubatees, co-founder Koushik Yanamandram talks about his company SustainEarth
What does your company do?
SustainEarth is a social enterprise that identifies rural energy issues and solves them by developing products and services based on clean energy. Our primary focus till now has been on rural cooking fuel/system issues. We have realised that more than 80% of rural India is dependent on unclean, unreliable and unaffordable fuel i.e, raw biomass. Only about 12% of the total population in rural India has access to higher grade fuels like LPG. Even among LPG users, most households face challenges of affordability and accessibility in the wake of the rise in fuel prices.
So, we have a big rural cooking energy issue before us which can only be solved by sustainable means like biogas. Biogas is one type of energy that can be widely adopted, given the huge livestock population in rural India. Although biogas alone can’t solve the big rural energy issue, it forms a big chunk of the whole solution.
SustainEarth has developed a novel biogas system – Gau Gas – which is highly comfortable, clean and economical for firewood users while it is reliable, accessible and affordable for LPG consumers. Our customer segments are those rural households who have cattle. Gau Gas comes with a biogas system, gas piping and a stove. Gau Gas takes in animal waste, processes it into high-grade gaseous clean fuel and rich organic fertilizer.
Why are you excited about this space?
The rural energy space is huge with a lot of challenges that need attention. Most of the 167 million households in rural India face the cooking energy problem for which there exist solutions based on clean energy. The challenges excite us because we believe that the right choice of technologies and innovative service models will solve them. After our exposure to rural areas all over India, we have realized that rural communities deserve energy independence that can bring change in their lives.
What is innovative about your product?
Our product, Gau Gas, is a flexible and portable model of biogas which is the low-cost model in the market available today.
What is the impact you want to have?
Our mission is to solve challenges of energy access with cleaner fuels for the millions of rural households. We would like to make positive impact in the rural communities by making them energy independent.
How do you think Villgro will help?
Villgro has been helping us in understanding, innovating and implementing our idea to bring about a robust biogas system for rural households with cattle. Without Villgro support, this a far more difficult journey.
Also read this Economic Times article on the new investments: Social business incubator Villgro makes 7 new investments