The state of Punjab, India, annually produces 22 million tons of residual straw. Together with TERI, the Biosfera and CSR Netherlands, the state of Punjab and the Indian Ministry of Agriculture are looking for innovative and scalable ways to upcycle this waste into useful chemical compounds (for industries).
Working on Biomass for All
Biomass for All (BFA) is running a big pilot with the aim to reduce (paddy) straw incineration in the state of Punjab. To achieve this goal, BFA is looking for scalable solutions. All practical and methodological ideas are welcome! Next to this challenge of upcycling straw into bio-based materials, we set out two more challenges: "Help create energy solutions for rural communities from paddy/rice straw" and "Share your ideas for bio-based materials out of paddy/rice straw". The image below gives a visual description of what we want to achieve:
About TERI and the Biosfera Foundation
TERI does research on sustainable development of India and the Global South. Their policies and technology are mainly focused on natural resource management, with key focuses on promoting clean energy, water management, pollution management, sustainable agriculture and climate resilience. This research institute has changed lives and changed the environment over the last few decades.
The Biosfera Foundation is a (technological) knowledge collective that has their key focus on Smart Ecosystem Engineering (SEE). Natural ecosystems are smart, but human-developed ecosystems are not. By creating top-notch technology and spreading awareness, they strive to make human ecosystems fit within natural ecosystems. This will lead to a better natural ecosphere that can support all life on earth.
Biological and carbon neutral
Every year, 90% of paddy straw and 25% of wheat straw is currently not utilized for any purpose, but rather burnt in the field by the farmers. This leads to bad air quality and constitutes a major health and environmental hazard. The state of Punjab, only has 2.7 per cent of the total country’s cultivable area, yet it is responsible for 17% of the total wheat and 11% of the total rice production of the country. The state generates 22 million tons of paddy straw and 25 million tons of wheat straw per annum. Paddy straw is considered carbon dioxide neutral, so working with this biomass could significantly decrease your emissions.
The challenge: Turning Paddy straw into useful (chemical) compounds for industries
The burning of paddy and wheat straw leads to bad air quality and health hazards. BFA is looking for (large-scale) solutions for industries, to give this biomass a new life. We are actively inviting businesses and organisations to come with ideas. Next to technological and practical solutions (e.g. chemical compounds for the food processing industry or bio-fibre composites for industrial design), we are open to methodological ideas (e.g. for the development of new work-processes or to bring about social change).
Recognising the environmental impact and the opportunities, the state of Punjab and the Indian Ministry of Agriculture are willing to (co-)finance innovative and scalable solutions to the paddy straw waste problem. Do you have innovative solutions, ideas, or experiences you want to share? MVO Netherlands, TERI and Biosfera are more than happy to answer your questions about financing, or any other matter regarding the challenge. Please send an e-mail to Mike van den Hof for more information: m.vandenHof@mvonederland.nl.