India produces approximately 500 million tonnes of crop residue every year – most of which is burnt on-site, causing serious air pollution. Researchers estimate that each year, farmers burn about 23 million tonnes of paddy stubble in India. If stacked in 20 kg, 38 cm tall bales, that massive amount of straw would reach a height of almost 430,000 Kms. Stubble burning in the states of Punjab, Haryana and Uttar Pradesh is attributed as one of the biggest contributors to the rising levels of air pollution in the region during winters; accounting for close to 30% of Delhi’s winter air pollution.
For many farmers, burning off crop leftovers from previous harvests is the most cost-effective way to clear the fields for the next planting and get rid of weeds and pests. At a macro level, this practice has resulted in India accounting for 13% of total global carbon emissions for the 2015-2020 period.
At the same time, 60-70% of the electricity generated at thermal power plants comes from burning fossil fuels; often low-grade coal. In 2021, the Government of India launched the SAMARTH mission under which power plants are mandated to use between 5% and 10% of biomass alongside coal.
ACT For Environment is proud to support A2P Energy and their new biomass marketplace Carbon2Climate – an AI based platform that uses satellite imagery to identify areas where crop waste burning is prevalent & creates a marketplace where crop waste can be turned into clean biofuels instead. It connects farmers, manufacturers and buyers of biofuels as well as covers the entire value chain of biomass from identification and collection to processing and the end use of the green fuel supply chain.
A2P was one of the winners of ACT’s India Clean Air Challenge (ICAC) held in early 2022. Their solution displays a deep understanding of the crop burning challenge, aligns with the farmers’ economic realities and helps create radical efficiencies in the market for environmental impact.
ACT For Environment will help A2P increase the adoption of biomass and biofuels produced from agriculture waste to 1600 MT monthly and 6800 MT respectively. This has the potential significant environmental impact – the use of 6800 MT of green fuel for conventional fuel, the reduction of 9928 MT of CO2 emissions and the prevention of 20.4 tonnes of particulate matter from entering the atmosphere.
The company will implement a program model to onboard biomass and biogas producers as well as buyers on its proprietary trading platform, test biomass and biogas quality and create market linkages so that farmers, FPOs and related groups are able to increase their income and reduce crop burning.
Solving for air quality issues across India will take multiple interventions with multiple stakeholders like policy makers, businesses and citizens – it is a complex balancing act of economics and environment. We are excited to see A2P Energy at the forefront of fighting this critical problem with their technological solution that reduces agricultural emissions and increases clean energy use in the country.