More Galleries
7 lifehacks to eliminate your holiday hassle Whether curating the perfect gift or finding a pet-sitter, these startups offer time-saving services that might just seem like holiday magic. More
San Francisco: The best city to make things From electric motorcycles to death shrouds, San Francisco's manufacturing sector is booming. More
6 designers shaking up fashion These designers are changing the way we dress, accessorize and shop, from custom made-to-fit dresses to smart jewelry that's actually stylish. More

Special Offer
20 of 36
BACK NEXT
Lighting rural India - with rice husks
Lighting rural India - with rice husks
Charles (Chip) Ransler and Manoj Sinha
Team name: Husk Power Systems

School: University of Virginia, Darden School of Business

Team members: Manoj Sinha, Charles (Chip) Ransler, Gyanesh Pandey

Concept: In many of India's poorest villages, kerosene lamps and diesel generators still fill in for nonexistent electrical infrastructure. But the indigestible husks from rice that feeds peasant families may soon also light their homes and power their irrigation pumps.

Husk Power Systems (HPS) has developed an innovative power generating technology that uses rice husks as fuel. Rice husks are plentiful and cheap in Indian villages, allowing HPS to offer its pay-per-use village customers a reliable, locally generated, carbon-neutral source of electricity.

Farmers and commercial users would see their costs slashed by one third, according to HPS estimates. The company claims that the average village would eliminate 58.8 tons of carbon dioxide emissions each year by adopting its technology.

HPS's mini power plants are relatively small operations - running at 95% capacity, a single village setup would gross about $22,500 a year - but cover their cost of operation when running at just 40% capacity. Each plan can be staffed by three villagers: One to feed around 100 pounds of rice husks into the generator each hour, one to maintain the equipment, and one to collect payments from customers.

Timeline: HPS has implemented its husk-fueled "mini power plants" in two pilot-project villages in Bihar - India's poorest state - and hopes to expand the service to at least 15 rice-rich but electricity-poor villages in India next year, 50 in 2010, and 200 by 2011. - Ben Frumin

NEXT: Green Coal

Last updated May 02 2008: 11:51 AM ET

Most stock quote data provided by BATS. Market indices are shown in real time, except for the DJIA, which is delayed by two minutes. All times are ET. Disclaimer.

Morningstar: © 2014 Morningstar, Inc. All Rights Reserved.

Factset: FactSet Research Systems Inc. 2014. All rights reserved.

Chicago Mercantile Association: Certain market data is the property of Chicago Mercantile Exchange Inc. and its licensors. All rights reserved.

Dow Jones: The Dow Jones branded indices are proprietary to and are calculated, distributed and marketed by DJI Opco, a subsidiary of S&P Dow Jones Indices LLC and have been licensed for use to S&P Opco, LLC and CNN. Standard & Poor's and S&P are registered trademarks of Standard & Poor’s Financial Services LLC and Dow Jones is a registered trademark of Dow Jones Trademark Holdings LLC. All content of the Dow Jones branded indices © S&P Dow Jones Indices LLC 2014 and/or its affiliates.