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Technology Converts Rice Husks into Electricity for Rural Indian Villages

An Indian company has developed a technology that converts discarded rice husks into energy, so far providing electricity to 60 rural villages and more than 150,000 people. Adapting a decades-old biomass gasification method, Husk Power Systems created a design they say is so simple that even a high school-educated villager can be trained to operate it.

Company officials say the rice husks that are common in the rural communities can power 400 to 500 homes for up to eight hours per day at half the cost of solar power.

The company, founded in 2007 and assisted by non-profit social innovation organizations such as the Acumen Fund, has already built 60 power plants in rural India. Company officials say they hope to operate in 10 to 15 countries within a decade, and serve 10 to 20 million people. “We see this as a revolution in electricity,” Gyanesh Pandey, a company founder, said.