Manoj Sinha and his partners initially launched Husk Power Systems to achieve one goal: bring electricity to villagers in their native Bihar province and, in doing so, help lift them out of poverty. To do this they developed a simple and inexpensive rice-powered electric plant (Bihar is in India’s rice belt), which generates enough power to meet the demand of up to 4,000 villagers. Their innovative green power plant has put Husk Power on the radar screen of key investors including the World Bank’s International Finance Corporation. This socially-motivated, for-profit business is deploying its plants in Bihar but, starting next year, they plans to expand across India and overseas.
Green Energy Reporter:What led you and your partners to launch Husk Power Systems?
Manoj Sinha: My partners (Ratnesh Yadav, Gyanesh Pandey — see here for a full list of Husk Power Systems’ founders) and I grew up in Bihar, one of India’s poorest states. The province lags behind in all key statistics: literacy rates, infant mortality, etc. I left Bihar to attend the Indian Institute of Technology in Varanasi, where I studied electrical engineering. While at university, we were thinking about ways we could use our skills to help our home state. We thought of various options and zeroed in on energy and, in particular, on the need to give people access to a clean, cheap and reliable electricity. We concluded that energy was a vital catalyst that could improve overall quality of life and also help support other development projects. For us electricity is not just a service, it’s also a tool that we provide to help people go up the economic ladder.