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Harvesting value from crop and forest residues

Delhi, India
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Vidyut Mohan
2 years ago


Takachar has developed patent pending technology that upgrades waste agricultural residues into a dense, carbon rich form, that make them suitable to be used for a wide variety of industrial applications- to make, activated carbon, fuels, fertilizers and other specialty chemicals. Our technology uses the principle of oxygen lean torrefaction, that is, a thermal process that roasts the biomass between 200 to 350 deg C in the insufficiency of oxygen. Most biomass torrefaction syste...

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Farmers are diverse, but take the example of Raspinder, a rice farmer. He nets $500/year from a 2.5-acre land. After harvest, he hurries to clear his land of 6 tons of rice straws so that he can plant again. Normally, he burns the straws, which causes smoke to linger in his village for a week, and contributes to smog in the nearby city. Recently the local police has threatened him with fines of as much as 30% of his net income, and he has become very scared. With our portable system, he can earn an additional $200/year by selling the activated carbon (AC) output to the local AC supplier, double his income and avoid government fines. In 10 years, we can impact 120 million new male/female farmers like Raspinder of different ages, but the benefit is likely greatest for smallholder farmers with low to medium income levels. Beyond improving their lives, by providing a profitable output for crop residues, we also reduce residue burning and the health effects/deaths of smog upon 200 million people who reside within 100 km of these areas or nearby cities. Our paying customers (different from the beneficiaries above) will constitute people like Ramesh, a local AC producer. He engages 200 local farmers to buy coconut shells and runs a 5 tons/day operation converting the residues into AC. Since 2015 he has faced significant raw material shortage and rising input costs (which has quadrupled). Unable to raise his selling price (as he competes against cheap coal- and wood-based AC globally from places such as China), he is forced to cut his already razor-thin margin, and halve his production output. Some of his fellow producers have gone out of business, firing rural laborers and leaving local coconut farmers without another economic use of residues. We can help Ramesh reduce his raw material costs by 60%, double his net income, make his biomass-based AC competitive globally again, and allow him to engage additional farmers like Raspinder.



Takachar is dramatically increasing the amount of waste agricultural residues that are transformed into marketable products around the world. By deploying small-scale, low cost, portable biomass upgrading equipment, Takachar enables rural farmers to earn supplemental income by converting their crop residues into value-added chemicals like activated carbon feedstock on-site, while simultaneously utilizing the waste heat from the process to produce dried agricultural products. Takachar technology requires no external sources of energy for its thermal process, eliminates 95% of carbon monoxide, particulate matter and volatile matter emissions vs open burning of farm waste, thereby making it suitable to deployed in remote rural settings. Furthermore, through on-site upgradation of loose, bulky farm residues, Takachar technology reduces the transportation costs of the waste by up to 40 per cent for end users like activated carbon factories. Through Takachar’s technology, farmers can earn up to 50% more, and the equivalent of up to 100 million tons of carbon dioxide emissions can be mitigated each year. millions of rural farmers burn their crop residues is an easy, low-cost, rapid way to dispose of their residues within a few days. The status-quo burning is becoming increasingly unviable to practice openly, as the local governments realize the severe air pollution and urban smog this practice is causing, and is banning farmers from doing so, and occasionally, fining them based on satellite images of open-field burning. In contrast, our solution’s novelty lies in the fact that it not only removes the residues within a similar timeframe as open burning, but also provides farmers with an additional source of income Through the Nidhi Prayas grant, Takachar aims to develop its product from a small scale lab prototype to a field scale commercial prototype.


Mitigate 700 million tons of CO2 equivalent emissions by 2030


1: Coimbatore with coconut farmers and activated carbon companies 2: Kenya, with paddy farmers and a biofertilizer company


Delhi, India


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Harvesting value from crop and forest residues

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Created by Vidyut Mohan

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