Hi, my name is Quincy Godwin from Ahoskie, North Carolina. Being 18, I can confidently say that I’m one of the youngest, if not the youngest person in the competition. But don’t let my age fool you into thinking that my impact is not both substantial and meaningful.
Just after high school I was selected by the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill by the Global Gap Year Fellowship to travel the world. I chose to spend my time abroad, completing a sustainable development project in rural India with a couple of guys I met on the Internet.
Through some serious web-crawling and persistence I came into contact with a two entrepreneurs in Andhra Pradesh working on an early-stage start-up social enterprise. They invited me to become part of the team.
What we do is extend biogas technology and distribute units to rural dairy farmers. These units stop the farmers and their families from burning solid wastes, like wood and crop wastes, to cook their food. And it allows them to turn their cow manure (of which they have an abundant amount) into clean carbon-free biogas.
Why, you ask?
Because we’re terrified of climate change, and want to do everything in our power to stop it in its tracks.
Riding through rural India, you may see half a dozen black smoke stacks littering the horizon at any time. Here is where a lot of the world’s atmospheric pollution comes from: here in the Asian countryside where over 166 million households that have no other way still burn wood and crop residue for the purpose of cooking their meals. This is where the revolution must take place. This is where the change will happen.
We’re on a long-term mission to provide clean cooking solutions to these millions. Our goal here is to use the USD 5,000 granted by this competition to deliver at least ten new Biogas units to villages near our headquarters in Tirupati. These units would eliminate a huge source of deforestation, greenhouse gas emissions that contributes to climate change, and save entire communities.
We’ve already installed a couple of units nearby. With these we’ve established a pay-it-forward system that allows us to provide units for the farmers at no up-front cost, and have a single unit pay for the next farmer’s unit.
Here’s how that works:
The grant from the competition goes towards buying a Biogas unit for a local dairy farmer at no cost to him. The unit produces enough cooking gas for three to four hours of cooking a day, plenty for an average household. The unit also produces ten kilograms of biofertilizer a day, which we sell to nearby farmers. Over time the dairy farmer will pay off the unit in small increments, while the funds collected from the fertilizer go to buy the next dairy farmer his own Biogas unit—creating a chain reaction of sustainable development.
Multiply this example by ten. And then next year by ten more. That’s what the money can do.
USD 500 buys a unit for a household, which buys a unit for another household. These units go on to buy more units for more families. USD 5,000 in our hands would have impact beyond measurability.
|Purchase Biogas unit materials – USD 2,300–April 1–7, 2016|
|Installation and service – USD 1,000 – April 7–June 30|
|Slurry processing to fertilizer – USD 1,000 – July through March (Throughout project)|
|Data collection for impact measurement – USD 200 – July through March (Throughout project)|
|Maintenance for units – USD 500 – July through March – (Throughout Project)|
Three billion people around the planet cook their meals over an open flame or on a crude stove every day by burning wood, crop waste, and animal dung. That’s nearly half the population of the world, Over 166 million in India alone. These ways of cooking harm the environment as well as the people forced to use them. Deforestation, CO2 and methane emissions are caused by the use of firewood and animal waste—destroying the atmosphere and creating respiratory problems in the users.
This issue has been around as long as cooking has. Then in the 1960s, Biogas came along as potential salvation—it failed.
Back in the 1960s millions of Biogas units were installed in India, but quickly lost favor with the local people because the units did not function properly. They were complicated, broken easily, and were not maintained by the installers.
So what can we do?
SustainEarth uses innovative Biogas technology to provide affordable, clean cooking gas to rural communities.
By rebranding the now-notorious Biogas product as Gau Gas and implementing new materials, new processes, and new technology SustainEarth will solve the problems faced by the last generation of Biogas users and perhaps change some minds about the usefulness of Biogas.
Does Biogas actually work?
Biogas is great. It’s an old idea that had great potential: turn a plentiful organic waste, in this case cow dung, into clean, convenient, reliable, and affordable cooking gas; eliminating a source of atmosphere pollution and deforestation in the process. Through recent developments we’ve managed to harness and take advantage of this potential, while improving upon the less-than-satisfactory aspects that turned many people away from it.
The units are easier to install, more reliable, easier to maintain. Advancements in technology now allow us to track the yield of units from our headquarters. We’ve established an efficient support system to ensure that all of our units are functioning at their best. If not, we fix them!
Biogas is asking for a second chance, and we see the worth in giving it one.
Blogpost and picture submitted by Quincy Godwin (USA): freshquince6[at]gmail.com
The content, structure and grammar are at the discretion of the author only.
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