HKG is developing its first project in partnership with LT Foods, a leading Basmati and organic rice producer in Northern India, to process rice paddy straw waste that would otherwise be burned into renewable energy and soil amendment products. The project has been awarded a leading potential impact rating and is supported by the World Wildlife Fund, the Dutch Fund for Climate and Development, and Invest International. The partners plan to deploy facilities in 2023 – 2024.
Agriculture waste production in India is more than 600 million MT per year and is projected to increase based on the country’s additional food production requirements. Approximately 100+ million MT of this waste is burned annually, a majority of which is high lignin waste leading to a series of adverse environmental, human health and economic impacts including:
- large-scale air pollution (1.67 million people died from air pollution in 2019);
- large-scale CO2 and greenhouse gas emissions including black carbon;
- depletion of organic and nutritional health of agricultural soils leading to lower yields and farmer income;
- opportunity cost of burning a biomass source that can be converted to products of value to increase farmer income;
- and other environmental impacts.
HKG and LT’s project aims to provide a commercially viable means of eliminating CO2e emissions from the rotting and burning of high lignin waste and, instead, enable these waste sources to be processed through anaerobic digestion to produce:
- clean, renewable, baseload energy in the form of bio-methane or electricity;
- soil amendment products that improve agriculture yields and plant health that have the potential to improve global food security and sustainable farming practices;
- purified CO2 that can be used for a variety of food and beverage production, processing, and storage applications.
Stuart Beavis, a Senior Advisor of Green Finance at the DFCD, described the project in the following quote: “This project will have a significant impact. The DFCD Origination facility was designed for projects like this. This project attacks a huge and important issue in India, plus it will help the country radically change how it does business. In my opinion, this truly is a unique agriculture project.”