QUBE Renewables, a company that created flat-pack anaerobic digestion (AD) kits, is using its technology to tackle India’s air quality crisis.
The company is installing 50 QUBEs (AD kits) in the paddy fields of the Punjab region to help deal with the growing air pollution problem. Crop burning in the region is estimated to make a 40% contribution to Delhi’s pollution levels, and an estimated 150 tonnes of rotting rice straw releases around 16 tonnes of methane. According to the firm, using its AD technology, farmers in the area will be able to turn their leftover crop stubble into electricity or fuel for cooking and transport. QUBE is working in partnership with Haryana Agricultural University on the project.
QUBE is a self-assembled kit that converts biodegradable waste into energy for heat, power and sanitation. Due to its flexible, fabric design, the QUBE can be used almost anywhere in a warm climate and with almost any type of biodegradable waste. According to the company, every year, India’s rice farmers burn their crop stubble, contributing to seasonal smog that can drastically affect the health of civilians. Now, using QUBE Renewables’ technology, farmers will be able to turn 150 tonnes of stubble into 50,000m3 of biogas – equivalent to 584,000 hours of cooking on a 1.5kw biogas stove.
Joanna Clayton, co-founder of QUBE Renewables, said: “We’re very proud to be involved in helping tackle literally one of the most burning issues in India. QUBE Renewables can play an important role in improving Delhi’s air quality, whilst also helping to solve a related issue that gets talked about far less.
“Cooking with solid fuels is one of the five biggest killers in developing countries, by using the cooking fuel that QUBE can produce, we can help improve people in the region’s health, productivity and quality of life.”
A QUBE can be built and begin operations in less than two weeks. As well as fuel, QUBE also creates a fertiliser, enabling waste rice straw to be used to help grow the next crop. Professor K P Singh, vice-chancellor of CCS Haryana Agricultural University, said: “Haryana Agricultural University is delighted to be working with QUBE Renewables on the installation of dry digesters for rice straw processing.
“Burning rice straw is a major environmental problem, and we look forward to rolling out this innovative, low-cost solution to help mitigate rice stubble burning in the future, and make useful biogas for cooking and power production in rural areas.”