Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Indian Companies Use Technological Innovation to Combat Poverty

Some Indian companies have begun to focus their efforts on sustainable, low cost energy that could help reduce global poverty. Two companies in particular, Abellon Clean Energy and SELCO, have made this task a priority.

Abellon describes its companies approach as, “a social development platform with holistic approach to sustainable development at grass roots levels.” The company is looking into bio energy, biomass, waste management, and solar energy. Abellon believes it is important to make use of agricultural waste in order to increase crop yields. They also emphasize the importance of training and educating farmers in order to increase productivity and therefore economic successes. The company has reported collecting over 22,000 tons of cotton biomass from 50 villages and 8,000 farmers. This biomass can help make “Pellexo”, a sustainable fuel.

When SELCO was established in 1995, the company focused on providing solar lighting to India’s poor, but now has expanded to include cooking stoves. Fieldwork in rural villages showed SELCO the importance of an improved cooking stove. The new stove, designed by ‘Prakti Design Lab’ is 40 percent more fuel-efficient and produces 70 to 80 percent less smoke.

These companies, and companies like them, are doing important work in addressing both poverty reduction and environmental issues. In focusing on who the product is for and its purpose, they have found great success in their endeavors.

-Sami Ressler