London: A Kerala company involved in tackling the problem of dumped food waste and a Karnataka firm that has provided thousands of rural families dung-based biogas plants are among 10 global projects shortlisted for the Ashden Awards for Sustainable Energy, popularly known as the “Green Oscars”.
Former U S Vice President Al Gore will present the awards and more than 200,000 pounds (Rs17 lakhs) of prize money to the winners at the Royal Geographical Society here on 21 June.
“The Ashden Awards are a powerful reminder that well designed and managed local sustainable energy initiatives can tackle climate change while meeting the needs of local communities. Tackling these issues simultaneously — in both rich and poor countries — is critical to addressing the twin planetary challenges of climate change and sustainable development,” Al Gore said.
BIOTECH from Kerala and SKG Sangha from Karnataka will compete with contenders from Bangladesh, China, Ghana, Lao PDR, Nepal, Peru, Philippines and Tanzania for the five awards and the prize money earmarked to help project expansion and replication in other communities both locally and nation wide.
BIOTECH has been selected for tackling the problem of the dumping of food waste in the streets of Kerala through the installation of biogas plants that use the waste to produce gas for cooking and, in some cases, electricity for lighting.
To date, BIOTECH has built and installed an impressive 12,000 domestic plants (160 of which also use human waste from latrines to avoid contamination of ground water), 220 institutional plants and 17 municipal plants that use waste from markets to power generations.
SKG Sangha has been selected for radically improving the lives of thousands of rural families in Karnataka by supplying them with both dung-based biogas plants for cooking and a specially designed unit that turns the slurry from the biogas plant into high quality fertilizer.
The units supplied by SKG Sangha produce fertilizer simply by combing the slurry with straw and leaves and then adding worms which re-digest the mixture to produce vermin-compost.
This vermin-compost improves the yields of family crops and women can earn as much from selling half the vermin-compost they produce as the household earns from selling the crops they grow. Since 1993, SKG Sangha has installed over 43,000 biogas plants in Karnataka alone.
Sarah Butler-Sloss, founder and chair of the Ashden Awards said: “All the finalists were selected because they stand out as inspiring examples of how providing local sustainable energy solutions to reduce global carbon emissions can also reap tremendous social and economic rewards for local communities around the world. They deserve to be highlighted and used to inspire others”.
The other finalists are: Shidhulal Swanirvar Sangstha (Bangladesh) for building a fleet of 88 boats that use solar energy to bring education, training and renewable energy supplies to over 400,000 people living in the remote Chalanbeel region of Bangladesh,
Beijing Shenzhou Daxu Bio-Energy Technology Company Ltd (China) for developing and marketing an innovative stove design that replaces coal by burning widely available crop waste as well as burning wood much more efficiently. Deng Ltd (Ghana) for developing a viable and sustainable business for the provision of solar-home-systems to rural areas where access to grid supply is limited.