About Us

Recurrent forest fires are spread by pine needles, which fall during dry summer months in large tracts of pine forests in the ecologically fragile Himalayan region. These fires not only destroy bio-diversity stressing the already fragile Himalayan eco-system. This project employs people in the villages to collect these fallen pine needles before they burn and converts this destructive biomass in to clean and affordable energy for rural needs, thus reducing carbon emissions, regenerating biodiversity and above all creating jobs in the villages. Electricity is generated through gasification of pine needles and the residual charcoal is briquetted. While these briquettes meet cooking energy needs in the villages, a reliable supply of electricity will create facilities for an entrepreneurial ecosystem in rural areas, creating a positive impact at every stage of the value chain.

Preparing food using the charcoal coming out of the gasifier plant

The Kumaon Region

Sub-Central Indian Himalayan Region has a highly fragile ecosystem with the native tree species giving way to monoculture pine forests. The area is mostly rural having 50-100 households each having around 4.5 people on average. Most of the people are literate, yet unemployed. Rural communities used to depending on forest resources and services for their daily existence find themselves alienated from their habitat due to over-exploitation of natural resources, diminishing eco-services provided by the forests, a burgeoning population, disappearing traditional livelihood base with no new opportunities in sight, and lack of access to modern amenities. The problem is further compounded by the forest fires spread by a carpet of pine needles shed over forest floor during dry summer months. These forest fires burn any new saplings of native trees, that are trying to regenerate, saves pine, a hardy, xerophytic species that resists fire and drought. A diminishing water recharge cycle due to the carpet of pine needles, massive soil erosion due to exposed soils after fires, and diminishing biodiversity are taking away the most precious resource from people, water.

Our Model

Avani Bio Energy is looking to build a sustainable energy generation and delivery business based on pine needles, as a means of developing large scale employment, biodiversity regeneration and clean energy production in a decentralized manner involving village level micro-entrepreneur for achieving the scale. Our approach is small scale (28 kW capacity) village level power plants bundled together to create employment, increase biodiversity, and reduce carbon emissions.

Local people, who are employed to collect pine needles are remunerated both in the form of cash and cooking charcoal, which is a by-products in the power generation process. The collectors can make upto Rs 500 per day as opposed to a daily wage of Rs. 300 and spend 25% of this 2 months earning to  to pay for the whole year’s suply of charcoal.

As the operations need to generate profit for micro-business to sustain, Avani Bio Energy will provide the technology, training and technical support. Avani Bio Energy will train the local entrepreneurs to manage the supply chain of pine needles and the sale of charcoal. This is in keeping with our role of generating conservation based livelihood opportunities and creating sustainable alternatives for people in the villages.