Husk Power Systems: Lightening up the Indian Rural Lives

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Case Details:

Case Code : LDEN085
Case Length : 19 Pages
Period : 2007-2012
Pub Date : 2013
Teaching Note : Not Available
Organization : Husk Power System
Industry : Power, Off-grid Industry
Countries : India

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This case study was compiled from published sources, and is intended to be used as a basis for class discussion. It is not intended to illustrate either effective or ineffective handling of a management situation. Nor is it a primary information source.

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Idea Behind Husk Power Systems

Pandey and Yadav, childhood friends, had faced the problem of non-availability of electricity as both hailed from rural Bihar. Even after they moved to different cities– Pandey was in Los Angeles, US, and Yadav was in New Delhi, India – the electricity problem that they faced during their growing up years in Bihar, remained a point of discussion between them. They wanted to supply electricity to the rural areas at a low price as conventional electricity system was unable to deliver power to everybody especially in remote, and undeveloped areas, and to people in the Bottom of the Pyramid segment who earned less than US$ 2 per day...

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Operating Husk Power Systems

A husk power plant required around 5000-6000 sq ft of land to be set up. According to Pandey, "Each plant takes about 3 months to get started. This can go up to 5 months depending on how many houses need to be connected. We have hired local people and trained them to run these plants. We have also set up an HPS University curriculum to train these workers".

The main part of the power plant was the biomass gasifier which was around 10 to 12 feet high. A husk loader fed the rice husk into the biomass gasifier from the top. The biomass gasifier generated producer gas. The producer gas was then transferred to coolers which cooled the gas down and sent it to the filters to be cleaned. The producer gas passed through a total of four filters which cleaned the tar and dust from the gas...

Developing Sustainable Business Model

The objective of HPS was to provide a comparatively cheaper, eco friendly, reliable power system for the poor living in the rural and remote areas of Bihar (initially), while making sufficient profit to ensure that the business model could function smoothly in the long run. Pandey said, “Our goal is to have our model help to deliver rural electrification to India's villages and eventually to rural areas around the world."

To achieve its objectives, HPS carried out a detailed study before setting up the husk power plant. It first tried to understand the types of electricity uses, current source of energy, and the per kWh (kilowatt hour) cost to the target customers. After understanding the target customers and their energy needs, HPS did a feasibility study of the potential for using a husk power plant in the target area...

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