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Clean technology innovators and entrepreneurs from India, Morocco, Pakistan, South Africa, Thailand and Turkey were honoured on 30th January at the 2018 GCIP Global Week and Cleantech Open Global Forum held in Los Angeles and it feels proud to say that this year’s Global Cleantech Innovation Award has gone to an Ahmedabad-based startup we featured in 2016 — Saathi Eco Innovations. Saathi was announced winner for developing a technology to make fully biodegradable and compostable sanitary pads made from waste banana tree fibre.

Besides, two other Indian startups that also won top awards are – Kerala-based NavAlt Solar & Electric Boats (NSEB) and Aspartika Biotech from Bengaluru. NSEB won in the Global Category Award for Renewable Energy while Aspartika won won the Global Category Award for Waste Beneficiation.

GCIP is a joint initiative of the Global Environment Facility (GEF) and the United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO), and is conducted in partnership with the Cleantech Open (CTO), a Los Angeles Cleantech Incubator programme. Each startup involved receives training, mentoring, and promotion, and is put in contact with potential investors, customers and partners through participation in the programme. Each national GCIP receives $1M to $2M in funding from the GEF, which is matched by $2M to $6M+ in co-financing (including in-kind) from in-country public and private-sector partners.

Here are the detailed elaboration of what these startups are doing exactly:

Saathi Eco

Saathi has developed a technology to produce 100% biodegradable and compostable sanitary pads made from waste banana tree fiber. No water is used in the production process, and use of the pads is projected to reduce 1,011 MT of CO2 emissions and 1,323 MT of plastic waste annually. Saathi Eco Innovations’ low-cost decomposable sanitary pads, and hygiene and health awareness campaigns, also contribute to women’s empowerment in India, where only one in six women have access to sanitary pads, constraining their ability to work and attend school during menstruation. For more on Saathi ECo, read our this featured article on same.

NavAlt Solar & Electric Boats

Founded by an IIT-Madras graduate Sandith Thandasherry, Cochin, Kerala-based NavAlt Solar & Electric Boats is building affordable solar ferries. The 20-metre-long solar ferries are India’s first solar ferries, and also the world’s most cost-effective ones with seating capacity of 75 passengers. The photovoltaic modules on the roof of these ferries will be sufficient to charge the batteries for 6-hour operation everyday. During the cloudy days of Kerala, the ferry service will still be operational with secondary charging available at the dock.

While a typical solar ferry costs rupees Rs 7.5 crore when built in Europe, the cost has been brought down to Rs 3 crore when built in India. A well-designed conventional boat which use up about Rs 20-lakh worth of fuel every year costs around Rs 2 crore in India while the solar ferries use no fuel at all. The operating cost of solar ferry is 40 units of electricity or 6.2 US$ per day which amounts to 185 US$ per month and 2,150 US$ per year.

Notably, NavAlt is a joint venture firm between Navgathi Marine Design and Constructions (Cochin, Kerala), Alternative Energies (France) and EVE Systems (France).

Aspartika Biotech

Founded in 2015, Aspartika is a biotechnology startup incubated at the Technology Incubation Center, Sir M Visvesvaraya Institute of Technology, Bangalore. The startup focuses on the development of products from waste by utilizing the Agro-waste in the vicinity of Karnataka. The products developed by the company is silkworm pupa oil enriched with omega-3 fatty acid and poultry feed from silk industry waste. The startup started its journey in 2013 August, with a grant of Rs.49.46 Lakh with a Department of Biotechnology, Govt of India – Biotechnology Ignition Grant and has also received support from Government of Karnataka under the Idea2PoC scheme.

Related Reading – 10 Promising Cleantech Startups In India Right Now

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