Gyanesh Pandey is the CEO of Husk Power Systems and the man responsible for providing Innovative Sustainable Electric Power to over 2 Lakh villagers in Bihar, Tamil Nadu and West Bengal.
Gyanesh did B. Tech in Electrical Engineering from IT-BHU (now IIT) Varanasi and Master’s at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute USA. He left a job in the United States and returned to India only to start Sustainable Power System in Rural Area along with his mates, Manoj Sinha and Charles Ransler.
Before opting for Rice Husks for generating power, they experimented with several alternatives like development of solar-powered lights and the use of jatropha seeds to create biodiesel fuel. They started with their personal savings and some award money from Social innovation competitions.
In the Husk Power Plant, they did build a generator that runs on a methane-like gas released by heating rice husks a certain way. Since Bihar had the annual production of around 2 Billion Kg of Rice Husks, this idea gained momentum.
The First Successful Husk Power System was built in Tamkuha village in Champaran district of Bihar in August 2007. A Single plant produces 32 KW of Electricity using 50 kg of Rice Husk enough to lighten up 300 to 500 households for 8 to 10 hours a day.
The rice husks used to fuel the process are purchased from local rice mills for under one rupee per kilogram. The cost of the service is about Rs. 80 for 2 CFL Bulbs of 15 Watt each and charging of Mobile Phones.
The biggest advantage of using Husk to produce Electricity is that there is no dangerous by-Product. The majority of by-product is Silica which is used as Fertilizer, making Cements of Incense Sticks.
With Husk Power System, Gyanesh has become a celebrity in Champaran. His deep commitment to improving the lives of the people in his home town.
HPS has about 100 power plants in Bihar, West Bengal and Tamil Nadu which supplies power to around 2 Lakh villagers. The Company also provides employment to above 300 local people, whose duty is to feed rice husks into the converter, to collect payments in advance and to monitor the electricity usage by customers. It plans to have around 2000 Power Units by the end of 2014.
The Company is incorporated in Patna Bihar. However it has started its operations in several countries of Africa also. It has joined the ranks of GE and the likes for Powering Africa Program (a $7 billion initiative) launched by US President Barack Obama. It will install 200 decentralized biomass-based mini power plants in Tanzania, providing affordable lighting for 60,000 households.