Shell GameChanger partnered up with Energy Swaraj Foundation to support entrepreneurs working on technologies that improve the quality of life for under-privileged sections of society. Meet the winners of the joint call for solutions.
In 2022, Shell GameChanger, in partnership with Energy Swaraj Foundation, launched a joint call for solutions with the objective of providing seed funding and coaching to early-stage tech start-ups that focus on social entrepreneurship and address challenges relevant to Shell’s powering lives ambitions, including access to energy, sustainable agriculture and robust, sustainable mobility. The winners were announced during the Action for Restoring the Environment Conference, organised by the foundation and sponsored by Shell.
“We have selected solutions that are carbon net-zero or negative, scalable, sustainable and create a strong social impact. The ingenuity of the winning projects and the passion for tackling real societal issues have made a huge impression on the Shell GameChanger and Swaraj Foundation jury. I strongly believe the winners have what it takes to make a real change for good, on a significant scale,” says Suchismita Sanyal, Computational Science General Manager at Shell and one of the sponsors of the competition.
What is next for the winners? “The winning solutions have already improved lives and increased livelihoods of rural communities, contributing to sustainable agriculture in India,” says Sreenivas Raghavendran, Commercial Partnerships Manager at Shell GameChanger. “Now, we will help the start-ups bring the projects to the next level by providing coaching and funding of up to 50,000 USD for their Proofs of Concept.”
Saptkrishi is an agri-tech start-up working towards agricultural innovation and the transformation of rural South Asia. Their solution, named Sabjikothi (Preservator), is an affordable mobile storage and transportation device that extends the shelf-life and preserves freshness of horticultural produce by up to 30 days. Sabjikothi is solar-powered and doesn’t rely on chemical preservatives or cooling mechanisms to do its job. It is portable, has a 200 kg capacity and requires only 20 watts of power. The impact of the solution can mean 50% increase in income for small farmers, reduction in fruit and vegetable waste by more than 30% and lowering the energy consumption by more than 80%.
Krishigati provide innovative sustainable products and solutions for marginal farmers. Their Electric Multipurpose Vehicle is a sustainable alternative to conventional methods of crop sowing and inter-cultivation, such as weeding, earthing up or fertilizer spraying. The net-zero emissions machine runs on an advanced Lithium Phosphate battery and can operate for 3 to 4 hours on a single charge. It is an affordable solution for farmers experiencing manpower shortage and high costs of equipment purchase or rental. The vehicle can reduce farmers’ operational expenditure by 20 to 70%.
HydroGreens’ solution is to integrate solar parks with vertical cocoponic farms (grow houses), enabling a dual use of land by growing multiple crops under solar panels. For India to reach its net-zero goal by 2050, up to 2,5% of the country’s surface needs to be spared for solar parks. The result is a displacement of pastoral and other ecosystems, combined with an increased competition for land. HydroGreens farms can significantly reduce this competition. Other benefits include reuse of water from solar panel cleaning and creating new business and employment opportunities in local farming.
Customised Energy Solutions
The start-up developed, deployed and demonstrated the effectiveness of decentralized small and medium-sized, solar-powered pulses processing units (pulses are the edible seeds of plants in the legume family) as a means for sustainable livelihoods in in the village Rikwathe in India’s Hazaribagh district. The project’s ultimate aim is to build a sustainable rural enterprise model empowering local tribal communities to own up the entire business. On top of creating employment and income opportunities, the solution’s impact includes providing clean, reliable energy and modern rural technology to local farming.
Too many people live without access to safe water in India. Watsan Envirotech’s mission is to reach out to the unreached to provide potable water. Their Natural Terafil Water Purifiers remove turbidity, colour, odour, pathogens, iron, arsenic and fluoride, but retain essential minerals and salts in water. No water is wasted in the process and it does not require chemicals, electricity or change of filter. The start-up has already delivered 4,00,000 stand-alone filters. Their plan is to reach 1 million households in India by 2025 and launch at least 100 Water on Wheels (WoW) dispensing machines to prevent women and children from walking miles to fetch water.
About powering lives
This competition was organized under Shell’s commitment to powering lives- one of Shell’s main Powering Progress strategic objectives. Shell helps to power lives by providing vital energy for homes, businesses and transport through our products, activities, and by supporting an inclusive society. Powering Lives also means making a positive impact in countries and communities by providing training and skills via enterprise development programmes. Supporting local economic development and promoting entrepreneurship, innovation and meaningful employment is core to our strategy.
About Energy Swaraj Foundation
Formed in 2019 by Professor Chetan Singh Solanki, Energy Swaraj Foundation is working to mitigate the adverse effects of climate change by empowering local communities. On November 24-26, 2022 the foundation held the Action for Restoring the Environment Conference where leaders from various sectors were invited to speak on the actions and pledges towards restoring the environment. Shell was one of the event sponsors.