The Energy and Resources Institute (TERI) and the Biosfera Foundation launched the ‘Biomass for All’ (BFA) initiative in 2015. In collaboration with the states of Punjab, Uttar Pradesh and Haryana, the Indian Ministry of Agriculture are looking for innovative and scalable ways to up-cycle this waste into useful bio-based (board- and packaging) materials.
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 "Chemical compounds 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.
Carbon neutral material
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 for example, 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. This state generates 22 million tons of paddy straw and 25 million tons of wheat straw per annum. Paddy straw is considered carbon dioxide neutral. Next to that, there is a vast domestic market and substantial export potential for biomass to bio-materials.
The challenge: Locally produced, sustainable straw products
The burning of paddy and wheat straw leads to bad air quality and health hazards. One of the ways in which BFA tries to get rid of this hurtful process, is by turning the straw into bio-based (board- and packaging) materials. We are actively inviting businesses and organisations to come with ideas. Next to technological and practical solutions (e.g. for the creation of table tops, shelfs or paper packaging material), 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 email Mike van den Hof: [email protected] for more information.