Minimines joins the ACT For Environment portfolio

As the Indian EV market booms, there is significant demand for the domestic production of Lithium-ion batteries – as is evidenced by the government of India’s Production Linked Incentive (PLI) Scheme which has a budgetary outlay of INR 18000 Crores for advanced battery chemistries. With industry players like Reliance and Ola Electric poised to set up their own Lithium-ion battery plants by 2025, there is a unique opportunity for recycled rare metals as production input which can reduce India’s dependence on the import of mined metals and prevent the depletion of scarce resources caused by mining. At the same time, there is also a need for sustainable recycling of end-of-life Li-ion batteries as India will need to recycle an estimated 150 kilo tons of Lithium-ion battery waste by 2030, whereas our current recycling capacity is less than 2000 tons a year.

Founded in 2021, Minimines is a clean-tech company whose innovative solution has the potential to address both ends of the value chain to enable true circularity. They have developed a unique low-cost and low-emissions hybrid hydrometallurgy process to recycle used Lithium-ion batteries and extract rare metals like Lithium, Manganese, Cobalt and Nickel, which can be used in the domestic production of fresh Lithium-ion batteries in India.

Currently, the most common battery recycling methods are pyrometallurgy and traditional solvent-based hydrometallurgy that face significant environmental challenges like high energy requirements, usage of large quantities of water, high carbon emissions and the need for expensive organic solvents that generate toxic waste. In stark contrast, Minimines’s proprietary technology is 75% more energy efficient and 95% more water efficient than prevalent recycling methods along with having the benefit of zero direct emissions. Furthermore, they are able to recover all the rare metals with more than 96% efficiency and at 99% purity – the efficacy of their solution has been validated at lab scale.

ACT for Environment’s support will enable Minimines to accelerate scale of production by transitioning from their current batch scale unit to a continuous process unit at 1.5 ton / month capacity. This will ensure mission-critical process efficiencies that will accelerate their go-to-market plan and drive adoption by facilitating commercial pilots within the battery manufacturing space.

We’re excited to be a partner to Minimines and support them in their goal of enabling sustainable battery recycling while contributing towards India’s journey of becoming self – reliant in the Lithium-ion battery manufacturing space!

ACT For Environment welcomes Solinas Integrity to its portfolio

India faces a unique challenge in managing its sewer pipelines as it grapples with an ageing infrastructure that has been resulting in substantial economic and human losses. A staggering 79% of our water supply is rendered non-potable due to water losses during distribution or contamination. Traditionally, municipalities have employed manual labour for pipeline inspection and desludging – however a strategic shift in the government’s initiatives, marked by the prohibition of manual scavenging through the PEMSR Act 2013 and increased budgets for sanitation programs, signals a growing use-case for mechanical solutions that can replace the need for manual labour.

In 2018, Solinas Integrity emerged to address these challenges, embarking on a journey marked by the development and deployment of innovative solutions. Their flagship products, Endobot and HomoSEP, have proven instrumental in inspecting water lines and desludging manholes/septic tanks respectively and have gained significant traction with municipal corporations and O&Ms alike.

Solinas now aspires to develop a unique robotic solution that can enable both inspection and cleaning of sewer lines >600mm. Equipped with the same PTZ camera and sonar sensor as the Endobot, the Rehabilitation Bot (R-Bot) will also have an agitator and suction system that can not only diagnose leaks and blockages in sewer pipes but also efficiently de-sludge and remove contaminants. Once deployed, it has the potential to be 5x more efficient and 3.5x more cost-effective than manual cleaning methods.

Furthermore, the R-Bot will also be integrated with Swasth, their proprietary AI platform, to facilitate real-time predictive analytics on defects, blockages and leaks along with pipeline health through an AI integration in the robot sensor.

ACT for Environment’s grant support will play a catalytic role in accelerating the development and deployment of the R-Bot with municipalities and O&M players alike. We are thrilled to collaborate with them on their mission to revolutionise WaSH management in India, aiming to reduce water losses, contamination, sewer blockages, and eliminate manual scavenging.

ACT For Environment welcomes Grassroots Energy to its portfolio

In the vast and dynamic landscape of India’s energy sector, currently responsible for 73% of total GHG emissions, the urgency for sustainable solutions is stark. As the nation strides towards renewable energy, adopting innovative technologies that can aid India’s net zero goals is paramount.

Founded in 2016, GRE is pioneering a novel bi-phasic fermentation process, using proprietary microbial cultures and a patented reactor design, that converts organic waste / biomass into Green Hydrogen. Unlike traditional methods, this solution requires no sterilisation, leaves zero residues, and is a scalable, modular and decentralised system. The process is 50% more energy-efficient and uses 30x less water than conventional water-electrolysis methods and is effectively carbon-negative by allowing for the sequestering of carbon with microalgae cultures. This technological prowess has positioned GRE as a front runner in the field, recognized by the Government of the UK for its energy efficiency and cost-effectiveness.

GRE’s innovative process also produces high-quality organic fertilisers, contributing to a circular economy. With ongoing projects and a strong pipeline, including collaborations with industry giants like Tata Power and ITC, GRE is set to accelerate adoption for bio-based solutions in the Green Hydrogen industry in India. The company targets mini grids and industries transitioning from conventional fuels to cleaner alternatives, aiming to capture a significant market share by 2030.

With substantial funding received and a strong pipeline for further investments, GRE is well-positioned for growth. Their business model, focusing on bio-methane, organic fertilisers, Green Hydrogen and carbon credits, ensures diverse revenue streams and sustainability. The team, led by experienced founders and a robust group of engineers and scientists, is committed to scaling operations and driving the adoption of Green Hydrogen.

ACT For Environment’s grant support will help accelerate the commercialization of GRE’s Green Hydrogen operations – aiming to scale production, validate the technology at scale, reduce costs, and ensure industry readiness. We are excited to support Grassroots Energy in producing cheaper and energy efficient green hydrogen with their technological solution that leverages biomass to unlock alternative pathways for clean energy adoption in the country!

ACT is looking for social entrepreneurs who are solving for India’s energy efficiency challenges

India is the third-largest consumer of energy in the world and will account for 25% of the growth in global energy demand from 2019 to 2040. Propelled by rapid urbanisation and industrialization, energy consumption in India has experienced a twofold increase since 2000 and projections indicate a 5% annual growth until 2040. However, regional disparities in energy consumption persist, with variations across states and among rural and urban areas. The reliance of the economy on the energy sector, coupled with escalating demand, has positioned the energy landscape as a critical focus area for India’s net zero ambitions.

India’s energy consumption can be categorised into five key areas, each playing a pivotal role in shaping overall usage: power generation, industrial production & processes, transportation, building usage and agriculture usage. Even though power generation and industrial usage constitute the bulk of energy consumption, transport related energy demand has grown 3.5 times and demand in buildings has grown by 40% since 2000. Although agriculture is relatively the smallest consumer of energy, electricity consumed in agriculture can go up to 50% of total consumption in some states.

But while India’s increasing energy imports to meet this surge in demand have spurred a concerted effort towards the expansion of renewable energy sources, we are facing formidable challenges:

High Transmission and Distribution (T&D) Losses: The prevalence of significant T&D losses hampers the ability of distribution companies (DisComs) to make bold and decisive investments in renewables. Addressing these losses is crucial to creating an environment conducive to renewable energy adoption.

Low Energy Storage Capacity: The growth of renewable energy has outpaced advancements in energy storage technology. The lack of commensurate progress in storage capabilities poses a bottleneck to the seamless integration of renewables into the energy grid. A focused approach is needed to accelerate the development of efficient energy storage solutions.

Recycling and Reuse Applications: While renewable energy sources have proliferated, there is a concurrent need to enhance efforts in recycling and reusing associated components. A holistic approach to sustainable practices should encompass not only energy production but also the management of materials involved in the renewable energy lifecycle.

What We’re Looking For

ACT For Environment will now also be looking at energy transition as a key area of investment focus and we’re looking to prioritise 3 pivotal spheres to help catalyse an outsized climate impact at scale:

Waste to energy / alternative fuels; given intermittency and wastage issues with renewables
Battery recycling & new battery chemistries; given that the current market dominated by lithium ion batteries which which have large environment & human costs
Distributed renewable energy (DRE); given the need to enable access to energy and livelihoods for rural India
Energy efficiency solutions for businesses; given that industrial energy consumption is the highest

We’ll also be looking to strengthen these innovations through a collaborative approach, by uniting the private sector, public institutions, and specialised research and policy partners in a collective effort to drive lasting impact.

If you’re a social entrepreneur working on an innovative energy solution in any of the above areas, submit your grant application here!

Seeds of Hope: Farmers For Forests transforming lives and livelihoods in rural Maharashtra

In the quiet village of Yermagad, in Maharashtra’s Gadchiroli district, a 73-year-old farmer named Najukrao Ranu Achala leads his life in a tiny hut on his 8-acre land with 7 goats, 11 cows, 38 hens, and 2 dogs. Finding solace in simplicity, he only owns a bicycle that helps him visit the nearest market to buy essential goods.

In 2023, Najukrao’s life took a transformative turn when Farmers For Forests, an organisation that partners with local communities to protect and increase India’s biodiverse forest cover, approached him. He expressed his interest in cultivating bamboo, mahua, toddy palm, and arjun trees on his land but also articulated the lack of financial resources as an obstacle. His wife had passed away and his children had relocated to a nearby town, which compounded the challenge as he had no motivation to single handedly take up farming again.

Recognizing the potential of Najukrao’s land as a significant source of environmental preservation, Farmers For Forests offered to incentivize him to plant trees, not only as a way to enable afforestation but also to aid his livelihood. This is the mechanism with which F4F operates – their innovative payment for ecosystem services (PES) model treats farmers as stewards of the environment and financially compensates them to provide ecosystem services such as carbon sequestration, groundwater recharge, nurturing biodiversity habitat, afforestation etc.

The F4F team provided Najukrao with saplings, organic fertilisers, and crucial labour support to initiate the plantation and, over the next four years, he will receive regular cash transfers to take care of the saplings. As the fourth year approaches, Najukrao will not only generate revenue from selling agroforestry produce but will also help F4F tap into the carbon credit markets – turning his efforts towards environmental stewardship into a sustainable operating model for the organisation.

Najukrao is only one example of the systemic environmental impact that F4F is creating. India’s agrarian communities remain one of the most vulnerable parts of the population bearing the disproportionate impact of climate change, despite having almost zero contribution to greenhouse emissions. Many of them are abandoning agriculture for other livelihoods due to climate change induced uncertain rainfall, land degradation and crop losses. Under these circumstances, Farmers For Forests offer local rural communities opportunities to both mitigate and adapt to climate change while significantly aiding green livelihoods.

Najukrao’s collaboration with Farmers For Forests is in its first year. “For all of my daily needs, I rely on the land. With this cash transfer, I will take care of the saplings planted, but I will also replace my old and broken transistor radio to buy a new one. It’s my regular connection to hear what is happening in the world!”

Cancrie joins the ACT For Environment portfolio

Cancrie aims to impact the battery industry by significantly enhancing battery performance, reducing waste, and extending their lifespan. By using agri-waste as an input, Cancrie has created advanced-grade high-purity nano carbons which are used as an additive on battery electrode plates to increase the battery cycle life by more than 50% and enhance energy efficiency by 40%. This leads to faster charging, reduced electricity wastage, and better utilisation of active materials. Their innovative breakthrough not only benefits the end consumers and battery manufacturers economically but also creates a positive environmental impact.

One of the key advantages of Cancrie’s solution is its versatility across multiple battery chemistries. With their materials showing promise, Cancrie has already gained traction in the market, working with notable clients such as Luminous, Laurus, Future Energy and Exide. Their initial target market of $1.6 billion comprises the lead-acid segment, where they are already conducting paid pilots. Eventually, the company has larger plans to expand their solution to other battery chemistries, including lithium-ion, supercapacitors, Na-ion, and Flow batteries for which they already have proof of concepts ready. This opens up a world of exciting possibilities for Cancrie’s future as well as the resulting climate impact.

Cancrie distinguishes itself through its commitment to environmental sustainability. By extending the lifespan of batteries, Cancrie significantly reduces the need for extracting raw materials and the environmentally damaging practice of mining. Furthermore, Cancrie’s production process is far more energy-efficient compared to other carbon grades, resulting in a significantly lower carbon footprint. Their process emits 85 times less GHG than graphene and 35,000 times less than carbon nanotubes, two most advanced grades of carbon.

With support provided by ACT For Environment, Cancrie plans to increase its production capacity threefolds, helping them achieve their commercialization goals. The funding received will also enable Cancrie to conduct trials on advanced-grade lead-acid batteries and lithium-ion batteries, further validating the performance of their materials. These milestones are projected to result in a saving of approximately 630 tonnes of CO2e and 200 tonnes of agricultural waste, making a tangible impact on environmental conservation in the next two years.

We are excited to welcome Cancrie into the ACT For Environment portfolio and witness their journey of improving the performance and lifespan of batteries in a wide range of applications. We believe that Cancrie has the potential to be a major player in the battery industry, and we are excited to support their mission to make batteries more sustainable and efficient.

Green Startup Pledge: Enabling startups to take meaningful climate action

Since the signing of the Paris Agreement in 2015, climate pledges have gained considerable traction across the globe. Companies, as well as investment firms, have made significant commitments to achieve net-zero emissions by specific target years such as 2030, 2040, or 2050. These pledges demonstrate a growing recognition of the urgent need to combat climate change and transition to a more sustainable economy.

Closer to home, the Securities and Exchange Board of India (SEBI) has introduced the Business Responsibility and Sustainability Report (BRSR) for the top 1000 listed companies. This standard builds upon the voluntary standards developed in partnership with the Greenhouse Gas Coalition in 2013. The BRSR ensures that these companies prioritise sustainability and transparency, thus aligning with global efforts to address environmental challenges.

In India, industry sources project startups to contribute 35-65% of the economic growth and create over 100 million jobs by 2030. But while startups are an integral part of the global and Indian economies, their dynamic nature and early-stage development present unique challenges. Existing sustainability frameworks and requirements are often designed for more established businesses with stable operations and profitability. Startups, on the other hand, require a tailored approach that considers their growth trajectory, financial dynamics, and evolving business models.

Recognizing the importance of startups as both the future of the business community and a major growth engine, there is a compelling case for developing a climate pledge and sustainability framework specific to startup operations.

This is why ACT For Environment, in collaboration with BCG, developed the Green Startup Pledge – the world’s first climate pledge that’s designed exclusively for startups and which aims to address the unique challenges and opportunities faced by them in their sustainability efforts. By offering a platform to commit publicly to sustainable practices, the pledge paves the way for a greener, more environmentally conscious future while helping startups future-proof their business by reducing switching costs when sustainable practices are adopted early on.

GSP acknowledges the unique characteristics of startups and embraces their staged and volatile growth. By adopting a phased approach, the pledge allows startups to progress gradually in their sustainability journey. Startups committing to GSP will benefit from frameworks that are flexible, streamlined and aligned with their business operations. Reporting will be streamlined and stage-relevant. A resource platform of tools, resources and reputable vendors will be made available to support implementation with the aim of building better from the beginning or transitioning economically.

Unveiled at COP27 and Bengaluru Tech Summit last year as an example of India’s leadership in building the green economy, GSP will be initiated with Indian startups with the aim to scale globally with startups from around the world. Early supporters of the pledge include prominent VC firms such as Accel India, Peak XV Partners and Matrix Partners as well as unicorn startup founders like Deepinder Goyal (Zomato) and Nitin Kamath (Zerodha).

To begin with, a group of 6-10 startups will be identified for the purpose of developing, beta testing, and refining the implementation process. This phased approach ensures that the pledge aligns with the unique characteristics of startups, allowing them to make progress over time.

GSP aligns with ‘net zero by 2050’ goals along with feeding into the Business Responsibility and Sustainability Report (BRSR) and we’re excited to helm an initiative that will take startup-led climate action from India to the world!

ACT For Environment welcomes Indra Water to its portfolio

Over 600 million people in India already deal with extreme water stress, and the country is moving towards becoming a water-scarce nation by 2030. This is exacerbated by the fact that over 74% of water in India is untreated, leading to almost 40 million litres of wastewater entering rivers and water bodies every day.

Indra Water has developed a decentralised point-of-source wastewater treatment system that has the potential to revolutionise the wastewater treatment industry. Founded in 2018 by two engineers, their patented and electrically-driven modular system is designed to treat water in a decentralised manner at the point of source, thus making it an ideal solution for both domestic and industrial water treatment. The company’s innovative design approach, which includes a structural flash reactor, enables the treatment of multiple types of wastewater, faster treatment time, higher throughput, reduced energy consumption, and lower overall treatment cost. Their enhanced water treatment efficiency would help reduce both freshwater extraction as well as the discharge of untreated water into our lakes, rivers, and water bodies.

With a mission to address the critical problem of hard-to-treat forever chemicals and promote wastewater circularity, one of the key advantages of Indra Water’s system is its modularity, which allows it to be 4x smaller, 30% lower in capex, and 40% lower in opex as compared to conventional chemical and biological wastewater treatment solutions. This makes it ideal for small and medium-sized businesses that cannot afford to invest in expensive wastewater treatment solutions. Apart from its cost-effectiveness, their system is also aligned with the government’s zero liquid discharge (ZLD) norms and adheres to the National Green Tribunal’s (NGT) guidelines.

Since its inception, Indra Water has already made a significant environmental impact, reducing 3200 tons of sludge, saving over 500 tons of GHG emissions, and preventing over 750 million litres of wastewater from entering freshwater streams. They have already successfully deployed its system for clients like Grasim (Aditya Birla Group) in Gujarat and Unilever in Indonesia with a total treatment capacity of 2.2 million litres per day, proving its effectiveness in commercial and industrial water treatment.

With support from ACT For Environment, Indra Water’s decentralised wastewater treatment system has the potential to treat approximately 7 billion litres of wastewater in the next six years and revolutionise the wastewater treatment industry in India!

ACT is looking for social entrepreneurs who are solving for India’s water crisis

Water is one of the most essential resources for human existence and yet, access to clean water is still a major issue in many parts of the world. India, in particular, is facing a severe water crisis. According to the NITI Aayog’s Composite Water Management Index, 54% of India’s districts are facing extreme water stress, and over 100 million people in the country live in areas with poor water quality.

The problem is only going to get worse with climate change, which is expected to exacerbate the water crisis and have a significant impact on food security, health, energy as well as the economy. It is clear that something needs to be done to address this issue, but the question is, where do we start?

Segmenting The Problem

To tackle the water crisis in India, it is important to segment the problem into different categories. The consumption of water in India can be broken down into three main sectors: agriculture, domestic, and industry. Agriculture is by far the biggest consumer of water, accounting for 91% of the country’s water usage, followed by domestic (commercial and residential) at 7%, and industry at 2%. However, industry’s water usage is rapidly growing, and it is causing severe pollution in the country’s water bodies.

Hypotheses On Possible Solutions

Water Monitoring & Analytics: Monitoring and analysing water usage can help identify inefficiencies and areas where water can be conserved. This can help in reducing water wastage, especially in agriculture and industrial sectors.

Water Treatment & Reuse: Water treatment technologies can help clean up polluted water and make it fit for reuse, especially in the industrial sector.

Water Saving & Management: Implementing water-saving techniques and managing water usage can help reduce water wastage and increase water efficiency, especially in agriculture.

Water Storage & Recharge: Storing water during the rainy season and recharging groundwater can help ensure a steady supply of water during the dry season.

What We’re Looking For

As a venture philanthropy platform, ACT is looking to prioritise water security as a key focus area under ACT For Environment. Given the scale of potential impact, we want to focus on 3 key spaces:

Water-saving, management, storage, and recharge solutions for the agriculture sector. Agriculture is the biggest consumer of water in India, and implementing water-saving techniques and managing water usage can have a significant impact on the country’s water crisis.

Water treatment, reuse, saving, and management solutions for the industrial sector. As this sector’s water usage grows, it is causing severe pollution in the country’s water bodies. Implementing water treatment technologies can help clean up polluted water and make it fit for reuse.

Partnering with the government to find innovative business models to scale up municipal water management solutions. Because at the end of the day, solving the water crisis in India will be a collective effort; requiring the government, NGOs, businesses, and individuals to come together to scale sustainable solutions.

If you’re a social entrepreneur working on an innovative solution in any of these areas, we want to hear from you! Submit your grant application at or write to us at

Brisil Technologies joins the ACT For Environment portfolio

With over 100 million tonnes of rice produced annually, India is the second largest producer of rice in the world. But this economic strength also leaves our country to deal with massive quantities of agricultural waste in the form of rice husk and straw. When used as biofuels, these waste materials leave behind an estimated 2-3 million tonnes of Rice Husk Ash (RHA) – which is often dumped in open spaces across India, leading to significant air pollution.

But there is a silver lining. The high silica content in RHA makes it an attractive source for extracting silica for industrial use; thus providing a sustainable solution to its growing demand. Regular silica production is traditionally done through illegal sand mining which ends up damaging the nearby rivers, floodplains and water tables.

Brisil Technologies has developed a patented technology that uses RHA to produce green precipitated silica and highly porous carbon, thus creating new commercial opportunities for what has only been considered a waste product while having a tremendous environmental and economic impact. Every ton of silica produced from Brisil’s technology can reduce over 10,000 Kgs equivalent of CO2 emissions as compared to traditional silica extraction processes and minimize open dumping of over 2000 Kg of rice husk/straw ash. But more importantly, the process is 35% more energy efficient compared to traditional extraction processes and also prevents the destruction of riverbeds and aquatic ecosystems that are a direct result of sand mining.

Since Brisil identified the problem and the market opportunity a decade ago, they have now successfully commercialised the technology and established trust with numerous Fortune 500 companies to export their green precipitated silica across Southeast Asia, Japan, Europe, US and Brazil. The company, founded by Tanmay Pandya, exemplifies India-focused frugal innovations, the environmental impact of green chemistry, and the business potential of green silica.

With Brisil’s solution, the world has a chance to embrace a more sustainable future – where waste is used as a valuable resource instead of having a negative environmental impact. We’re proud to support them on their journey and look forward to helping them scale their product further!

ACT Capital Foundation For Social Impact is a not-for-profit company incorporated and registered under Section 8 of the Companies Act, 2013. All donations made to ACT Capital Foundation are eligible for income tax deduction under Section 80G of the Income Tax Act.

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