The Power of Pine Needles

Energy Access, Renewable Energy
Proposed Investment
USD345,000 - Debt
USD145,000 - Equity



Last Updated
Wed, 10/18/2017 - 17:30

Avani Bio Energy is a clean energy company that generates electricity and cooking charcoal from pine needles through biomass gasification. Avani already operates a 9 kW plant, and a 120 kW grid connected power station fueled by pine needles. The Company is looking to increase generation capacity with an additional 480 kW by setting up several 10 kW to 25 kW sized power plants. Recurrent forest fires are spread by pine needles that fall during dry summer months in pine forests in the ecologically fragile Himalayan region. This project employs people in the villages to collect fallen pine needles before they burn, and converts them into clean and affordable energy for rural needs. Electricity is generated through the gasification of pine needles, and cooking charcoal is produced by briquetting the residual byproduct. Briquettes meet the cooking energy needs of the villages and the reliable supply of electricity will power facilities that can create an entrepreneurial ecosystem in rural areas. Funding is required to implement the additional 480 kW of generation capacityand develop an ecosystem for scaling up this business to other geographies of the world. The total project cost is USD 956,000. Of this amount USD 470,000 has already been secured through grants from DOEN Foundation and Open Road Alliance. For this investment round, Avani Bio Energy is looking for USD 486,000 of equity and debt.
What problem are you trying to solve? Who has this problem?
Recurrent forest fires are spread by pine needles during the dry summer months to expanse tracks of forests in the Himalayan region. These fires disturb the area's biodiversity and adds stress to the already fragile Himalayan ecosystem. While pine needles can be destructive, its energy potential may be harnessed for the benefit of the rural villages. Many villages in the Himalayas have limited access to electricity, if they have access at all, and depend on wood as fuel for cooking. Avani Bio Energy intends to tap this abundant biomass resource to mitigate occurrence of forest fires, provide employment to locals, produce efficient briquettes for cooking, and generate electricity.
Value Proposition
Avani Bio Energy will put up several 10 - 25 kW of gasification power plants, powered by pine needles, in the Indian Himalayan State of Uttarakhand. Villagers will be employed to collect the pine needles that have fallen from the trees. The collected biomass will be used to fuel a gasification plant and generate power that will be sold to the Uttarakhand Power Corporation Limited (UPCL), the only power utility operating in that state. Avani has already signed a 20-year Power Purchase Agreement with UPCL for its operating 120 kW facility at USD 0.72/kWh (with a 5% escalation rate every year). It will enter into a new PPA with UPCL for every new gasification facility put up. Avani targets to put up a total of 480 kW of pine needle - fueled power plants across the state. The byproduct of the gasification of pine needles will be converted into cooking charcoal that may be used to replace firewood for cooking. The initial market for cooking charcoal are the rural households and small restaurants and cafes in Pithoragarh district that buy charcoal from the plains at a higher price (USD 0.50/Kg). Avani will sell the cooking charcoal at USD 0.30/Kg.
  • Clean power generation that can provide electricity to rural families and add capacity to the existing distribution network
  • Cooking charcoal is a cleaner alternative that can reduce dependence to firewood of 400 rural families
  • Reduce 18,800 tons of carbon emissions per year
  • Restoration of biodiversity in 800 hectares of forest land impacting 400 families
Chanchal Singh

Renewable Energy/Biomass Expert

Karan Rai Singh, Adviser
Rajnish Jain, CEO
Ritesh Singhania, Business Development
DOEN Foundation

Maturity Level
  • Prototyping and Validation
  • Commercial Operations
  • Growth and Expansion