CTx GreEn

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Overview

Delivering biodiesel-fueled agro-services to remote Indian villages

 

Overview

Headquarters: Kitchener, Ontario, Canada
Established: 2003
Impact Areas: India
Type: Nonprofit since 2004
Energy Sectors:
Business Model Types:
Staff Size: 15
Annual Budget: US$50-150,000
Major Funders: World Bank Development Marketplace, Shastri Indo Canadian Insititute (SICI), Swiss Agency for Development Cooperation (SDC)
Awards: 2003: World Bank Development Marketplace
2004: Santa Clara Global Social Benefit Incubator
2005: Tech Museum of Innovation Award

ABOUT

CTx GreEn helps villages build the capacity to convert locally available under-utilized and un-utilized oil seeds into biodiesel and value-added services to increase productivity and improve the local economy.

 

Energy Products/Services

  • Pedal-powered biodiesel reactor and refiners (self-designed)
  • Off-the shelf biodiesel engines and oilpress pilot-tested and suitably scaled to village level
  • Feasibility Studies
  • Customized Training Programs

Target Market

  • Remote, infrastructure starved communities with undertulized oil seeds
  • Universities with underutilized land, people resources and/or under or un-utilized oil seeds and potential for fuel substitution
  • Hybrid heating in greenhouses in urban centers of cold countries (to lengthen the growing season)

 

Ctx Green

Revenue Streams

  • Grants and donations
  • Sale of biodiesel-powered agricultural services and by-products like oilcake, soap and glycerin
  • Feasibility studies and training packages

Value Proposition

  • CTx GreEn’s main innovation is a small-scale pedal-powered reactor which turns oil into biodiesel in 5 and 20 litre batches.
  • CTx GreEn motivates women in self help groups to sell oil and oilcake instead of selling seeds.
  • The oil is pressed locally in biodiesel-fueled oil expellers, or hand operated presses.
  • Non-edible oil is converted to biodiesel and made available for fueling agricultural implements.
  • Mechanized services such as tilling, irrigation, pre-harvest and post-harvest are powered by engines run on the locally produced fuel.
  • CTx GreEn has trained villagers to run the oilpress, reactor, oil expeller and power tillers and are encouraging local village groups to invest in their own equipment.
  • CTx GreEn is hosted in India by the Orissa-based NGO Gram Vikas.

Problem Addressed

  • In the villages in Orissa, India where CTx GreEn operates, there is a serious undercapacity for agricultural production due to lack of access to mechanized tools such as tractors and water pumps, lack of timely inputs such as seeds and fertilizers and poor soil condition.
  • In addition, there is a great deal of under-utilized and unutilized oilseed suitable for producing biodiesel. Villagers generally sell the seed at low prices to traders who resell profitably elsewhere. Villagers therefore do not benefit.

Where They Are Now

Impact to Date

  • Pumpsets and engines have been running continuously for over 3 years on 100% transesterified biodiesel produced locally from indigenous oil seeds
  • Successfully developed pedal powered biodiesel reactor
  • Successful pilot implementation of business model in 4 village clusters
  • Barefoot technicians, Self Help Group women and school drop-outs trained on various aspects of village level biodiesel technology.
  • Student interns and NGO representatives (Indian and overseas) have also been involved in collaborative exchanges and training programs
  • Feasibility studies for replication have been launched with 12 NGOs in the State of Orissa and 2 other NGOs in other Indian States.
  • Currently seeking to transfer skills and replicate model.

Milestones

 

  • 2003: Commenced project with funding from World Bank Development Marketplace with goal of providing village biodiesel water pumps
  • 2004: Developed reactor, and installed reactor, press, and water pumps in 2 villages
  • 2005: Delivered first village water supply with biodiesel pump
  • 2006: Shifted to delivery of agricultural services
  • 2007-2008: Started focusing on Self Help Groups and farmers.  Demonstrated byproduct synergies such as soap making and oilcake utilization in rice paddy cultivation
  • 2009: Commissioned first village-level biodiesel based hybrid electrification system
  • 2010: First carbon offset donation received for biodiesel based electrification
  • 2010-2011: Biodiesel based oil expelling launched with working capital investment by Self Help Group

Growth Plan

  • CTx GreEn wants to train 30-40 people in a 6-8 month program starting later in 2011 to run oil expellers, hand oil presses, power tillers, and pedal reactors as a means of franchising its program in other villages.
  • CTx GreEn is also interested in promoting other biodiesel implementations, such as getting large campus-based organizations like agricultural universities to replace their lawns with indigenous oil seed crops or trees and use the fuel to power tractors and buses.

How They Deliver

Product Sourcing

  • Machines:
    • CTx GreEn developed its own bicycle powered reactor, which produces 10 liters of biodiesel from 2 hours of pedaling.
    • CTx GreEn originally used a hand operated oil press sourced from Kickstart, but users wanted a mechanized version, so now they use a biodiesel fuelled oil expeller that expels 40-50 kilograms of seeds/hour, in addition to the hand press, which presses 10 kilograms of seeds per hour.
    • CTx GreEn uses off-the-shelf diesel engines and farming machinery for farming services replacing diesel with biodiesel. Every batch of biodiesel produced is tested for quality before being used in engines.
  • Fuel:
    • Villagers collect oilseeds and get them pressed into oil and seedcake (sellable as fertilizer or livestock feed) at local oilpresses or using CTx GreEn’s oilpress.
    • CTx GreEn then assists in converting the oil into biodiesel with its reactor.
    • Biodiesel fuelled services are hired out to the local community
    • The biodiesel produced is tested for quality to make sure that it adheres to standards and can be used in off-the-shelf diesel engines.

Distribution

  • CTx GreEn’s initial use of biodiesel was to power pumps to bring water for water supply and sanitation to villages.
  • However, to supply water to the entire village (70 litres per person per day for 73 people), only required them to run the engine one hour per day and use 10-15litres of biodiesel every month.
  • Fuel was produced in the 5L biodiesel reactor only twice or thrice a month requiring 40-60 kilogram of seeds.
  • This led CTx GreEn to seek out other uses for the fuel, as running the reactor at 5% capacity was not an economical use of its capital investment.
    • Locally produced biodiesel was used to power electrical generators that powered a local grid and also charged a battery bank.
    • The battery bank was used to charge individual household LED lanterns.
  • CTx GreEn however believes that electricity generation is not the most optimum use of biodiesel and can only be a stop-gap arrangement until the community is connected to the grid.
  • CTx GreEn believes that the best use of biodiesel is where electricity cannot cater, and that the optimum use of biodiesel is to fuel agricultural machinery such as mobile irrigation pumpsets and power tillers.
  • Power tillers can till a field 5-6 times faster than the traditional animal driven plough.
  • Locally produced biodiesel when used locally for agricultural mechanization enhances food production and adds value to local resources. In the process it strengthens the local economy.
  • CTx GreEn has trained women and youth in activities related to biodiesel production. Volunteers, Self Help Group members and village youth (potential entrepreneurs) are among those that have learnt to organize the collection and purchase of seeds, and to operate machines.
  • CTx GreEn is now moving into a program mode for which they are looking for funds to develop specialized curriculums for village entrepreneurs.
  • The idea is to train sufficient numbers of Self Help Group members and potential village entrepreneurs to run their own oil presses, biodiesel reactors and power tillers.
  • The goal is to reach out to 6,000 remote villages in tribal Orissa.

Revenue & Affordability

  • Currently, biodiesel services are available for a fee.
  • Villagers pay a monthly tariff for water supply and electricity services.
  • Biodiesel fuel is never sold, but only used to power services, such as tilling a field, for which machine operators charge approximately $7/hour.
  • CTx GreEn is now trying to get village self-help groups to invest in their own machines, for which they can receive a 30-50% subsidy from the government and a low-interest loan from a local bank.
  • However, obstacles such as developing a market for the new products (oil and oil cake instead of seeds) and the role of traders and middlemen have to be overcome before the villagers are fully convinced about taking up the new technology as an enterprise.
  • CTx GreEn has worked out a model of interrelated cooperative businesses.
    • Self Help Groups purchase seeds and pay milling charges. They also market the oil and the oilcake.
    • The oil mill operator in this manner does not have very large working capital requirement and his risk is also minimized.
    • Biodiesel, the fuel for running the oil expeller, is available from another entrepreneur or Self Help Group.
  • CTx GreEn has made this model operational with one Self Help Group that purchased 3,000 kilograms of seeds for milling and has taken up selling the oil and the oilcake.

Financing

  • CTx GreEn is thus far entirely grant financed, and got its initial and largest funding from the $250,000 World Bank Development Marketplace grant that got it started.

Scaling

  • The biggest obstacle to replication faced by CTx GreEn is the low level of literacy in the local community and the need for training.
  • CTxGreEn is trying to access funds for preparation of curriculum and training material for a full fledged training centre.
  • The centre will train large numbers of machine operators and entrepreneurs on the Village Level Biodiesel Technology.

More Resources

Online Resources

Contact Information

CTx GreEn
Address:

Canada:
c\o The Working Centre
58 Queen Street South
Kitchener, ON
Canada

( +1 (519) 957 1708 (VoIP rings in India and Canada)
* ramanisan@yahoo.comctxgreen@gmail.com

India:
Gram Vikas-CTx GreEn Biodiesel Project
Gram Vikas
Mohuda Village, Berhampur 760002
Orissa, India
( +91 (0)680 226 1874
+91 (0) 94391 26989