In Gujarat, one of India’s most industrialised states, factories spew out black smoke and farmers traditionally burn their crop waste to clear the land, thus further polluting the air. Three years ago the founders of Abellon CleanEnergy saw the opportunity to tackle both of these problems, by replacing the coal and lignite used in factories with a fuel made from the farmers’ crop waste.
They now have a thriving business which gives 8,500 local farmers a small income for the use of their crop residues such as cotton stalks and cumin stems. Along with sawdust from nearby saw-mills, these residues are made into pellets and sold to local industries. Poornakumba, an NGO set up by Abellon, works with local university experts to train and advise farmers on more sustainable farming, and coordinates the collection of crop residues
Abellon currently produces around 65,000 tonnes of pellets per year for large industrial customers and provides over 215 local jobs. These pellets not only save around 110,000 tonnes of CO2per year, but produce less dust and smoke so factory workers find them easier to handle, as well as healthier. The company aims to treble sales in India over the next five years, and to expand into international markets.