A portable and cost-effective machine, innovated by India’s Vidyut Mohan is being pitched as a big part of the potential solution to air pollution. Prime Minister Narendra Modi met Vidyut Mohan, a Delhi-based mechanical engineer in Scotland’s Glasgow, as part of his two-day trip to attend the Climate change summit being organised by the United Nations.
30-year-old Vidyut Mohan often fell ill or witnessed his grandmother falling sick due to Delhi’s toxic air. He decided to work in the space of clean air solutions and his invention won the Earthshot Prize. The innovation is a small-scale, tractor mountable equipment which can convert tonnes of agricultural waste into renewable fuel and fertilisers. The decentralised equipment can convert rice straws, coconut shells to create energy. The machine uses the principle of a coffee roaster. Waste roasted in controlled temperatures can produce fuel, fertilisers, and other products for use in agricultural land. The equipment was piloted in Uttarakhand and is now being tested at multiple locations. The technology which reduces carbon emissions by up to 98%, can help improve air quality and can also create jobs.
Vidyut Mohan, founder of Takachar.com hopes his meeting with PM Modi will translate into a partnership with the government to take the innovation to a large scale. “My meeting with Prime Minister Modi was short, only two minutes long. Within which he curiously wanted to know about the machine, how it works, how farmers received it and particularly wanted to know where and how we are manufacturing it. He was just so curious. Our aim is to scale this solution as asap. We cannot do this alone and the government can play a big role and private corporations can work with us so that sustainability in the value chain can be brought about.” said Vidyut Mohan.
Globally, $120 billion worth of agricultural waste is produced each year. Most farmers in India’s agriculture-driven economy believe that burning the waste is the most cost-effective way to clear land for new plantations. According to the World Health Organisation, agricultural lands set ablaze lead to air pollution that kills 7 million people a year. It also is the largest source of black carbon, a threat to both human health and one that can expedite the melting of Himalayan glaciers. India recently pledged to reach net-zero by 2070 at the COP26 summit as a nation. Solutions such as Mr Mohan’s could play a significant role in reduced carbon emissions in the air.