Waste No More

Using poultry waste for energy production might sound a bit too out of the box. But the success of this idea at a recent event in Kathmandu proves the adventurous and tech savvy spirit of Nepali entrepreneurs.

If you are in the business of production where energy is required and there is waste at the end of the process it will do well for you to know the term W2E. It may sound too good to be true but waste can become your source of energy, and if done well, even sell the surplus to the grid. The waste to energy bazaar hosted by the Government of Nepal, Alternate Energy Promotion Center (AEPC) and the World Bank was organized in Kathmandu on April 26, 2013 in Kathmandu. The W2E market place (bazaar) was organized to highlight the gap between potential and policy gaps, technology options, business models and involvement of the private sector and entrepreneurs. There were sessions focused on the availability of proven technologies, and the various business models that are being applied to convert waste to energy (W2E). A session was dedicated to presentations made by the ten top ideas and entrepreneurs who had first been short listed from 128 and then from 30.

 

The winner was an idea on converting poultry waste into electricity. Suman Shakya, who presented the proposal on behalf of a new venture, Smart Urja and their partner Sukha Alternate Energy, explained the process, the partnerships, the technology and the financing mechanism. The bottom line was that three poultry farms were coming together to produce just over one megawatt of power. The surplus that they do not consume could be used to create a local mini grid or sell it back to the grid. Look out for announcement for more innovations in W2E ideas and innovations. Competition, transparency, good business practices need to be recognized and awarded, and the W2E bazaar was the perfect setting to attain these goals.

The publicity for the ideas competition before the W2E bazaar had been done through the media and also a dedicated website. There were two very prominent entrepreneurs, Dr. Bhagwan Koirala and Dr. Mahabir Pun who helped spread the word and encouraged everyone to submit concepts and ideas. The ideas of the selected thirty projects were also displayed on boards at the venue for all to see and discuss. There was a panel of independent judges who helped make the final selection from ten to top three ideas. The leaders of the top ten ideas were given an allocated time, and using power points, they made the presentations to the jury and the audience. After open deliberations and questions and answers, the top three were selected as the best and most viable W2E business ideas. What Nepal really needs is a level playing field where the best ideas and ventures can succeed. Material recovery from waste and methane generation is already happening in some industries. We want power.

Nepal has an energy and waste crisis. The whole process and the bazaar made sure that the public in general and entrepreneurs in particular got to know about this opportunity and will now begin to look at the possibilities and begin to develop business plans. The whole program was well participated in and the presence of experts and entrepreneurs from the south Asia region, Europe and Africa added to the learning process. Nepal is no different from any place on earth where waste management is not just an expensive challenge but also a real public health hazard. Its management in terms of recovery of material and energy is good business and the bazaar will help promote it as such. The finance sector also needs to be on board and we all need to work with them to steer some of their investment into these non-traditional sectors. Next time you see or worry about waste, think energy. Waste no more.

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