Two Indian start-ups bag honours at global manufacturing summit in Russia

N Madhavan Yekaterinburg (Russia) | Updated on July 11, 2019

GARV wins in ‘Sustainable Cities’ category; A2P tops in ‘Sustainable Energy’ segment

Two Indian start-ups have won the Mohammed Bin Rashid Initiative for Global Prosperity award at the second edition of Global Manufacturing and Industrialisation Summit (GMIS) being held in the Russian city of Yekaterinburg.

GARV Toilets (providers of smart sanitation services that deploy Internet of Things) won in the ‘Sustainable Cities’ category, while A2P Energy Solutions (which seeks to prevent stubble burning by converting agricultural waste into energy) bagged the honours in the ‘Sustainable Energy’ category.

They were selected as winners from over 1,100 entries across four categories in an open challenge that included multiple round of pitches and interviews. Each winner took home a prize money of $100,000.

The initiative, named after the ruler of Dubai and vice-president of the UAE, seeks to recognise achievements that positively contribute to the well being of the world while fostering resilience, community, harmony and dignity.

Inspired by Swachh Mission

Faridabad-based start-up GARV Toilets, founded by Mayank Midha, was set up in 2015. His inspiration came from the Swachh Bharat Mission and the fact that 774 million Indians lack access to adequate sanitation. In fact, 23.5 million people do not have access to toilets at home. The public/private toilets they use are not clean forcing people to defecate in the open.

GARV’s portable toilets are made of steel and maintained through automation. They are fitted with IoT sensors to collect data on usage, functioning of the toilet and capture information on user’s hygiene behaviour. “We have so far installed 721 toilets of which 320 are smart technology enabled across Uttar Pradesh, Bihar, Delhi, Haryana and Maharashtra,” said Midha, who graduated from the Institute of Rural Management at Anand (Gujarat).

Recently, GARV tweaked its business model by including showers and drinking water facilities. The start-up will soon begin rolling out what it calls Smart Sanitation Hubs in Mathura and Brindavan. It plans to offer a monthly subscription plan for users through smart cards. As of now as many as one lakh people are using its facilities every day. Recently, it received funding from IIT-Kanpur Incubation Centre.

Tackling stubble burning

A2P Energy Solutions, a start-up founded in 2018 by Sukhmeet Singh, who spent 11 years in tech consulting, seeks to provide solution to the most pressing issue of stubble burning that spikes pollution levels in Delhi. It seeks to offer technology to convert 500 million tonnes of agricultural waste into fuel pellets and animal feed. Pepsi, HUL and a few large pharmaceutical companies are its buyers.

“The stubble burning causes losses to the tune of $30 billion which is 1.5 times India’s health and education budget,” said Singh. The start-up uses technology to colour code pre-harvested fields to ensure efficient collection of waste. It has innovated to manufacture effective fuel (those that do not damage the boiler) and design machines using material science to produce that fuel.

In the last one year, the start-up has converted 900 tonnes of waste thereby saving 13.14 lakh kg of CO2. “You can imagine the potential if we convert all the 500 million tonnes of agriculture waste,” he pointed out. A2P Energy, which has got a grant from Aston University, UK, is in the process of setting up a pilot plant after which the scaling up process will commence either by setting up its own facilities or through a franchisee model.

The writer was in Yekaterinburg at the invitation of GMIS

Published on July 11, 2019

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