Why This IIM Graduate Left His Million Dollar Corporate Job For Biofuel?

Business Innovation By Nandita uppal | 3 min read


World biofuel day is observed on August 10 in honor of Sir Rudolf Diesel, the creator of the diesel engine. He is believed to have used peanut oil to power the first mechanical engine.

Did you know that carbon emissions on a global basis have increased by 46% since 1990? About three billion people worldwide are dependent on wood, livestock manure, and kitchen waste.

People are growing increasingly concerned with issues such as sustainability, alternative resources, biofuel, and so on. These concerns have made an impact in the last few years as many empathetic human beings like Sudhanshu Sharma, Kriti Tula, and Manan Nahar have founded sustainable, innovative, and planet-saving ventures.

Along with the aware citizens, the Indian government is focussing on green solutions. Emphasizing the government’s commitment to sustainability and cutting emissions, Nirmala Sitharaman, the finance minister of India emphasized the same in his latest budget speech. Some of the keywords repeated were green, clean, sustainable, and carbon-neutral.

There are many Indian startups who began working on methods to make the environment greener long before India made the carbon-zero climate goal. One such great startup that is committed to sustainability is GREENJOULES.

The Biofuel Of The Future

A young start-up that has established a biofuel factory in Chakan, Pune, is currently creating 2G diesel equivalent biofuel from agro waste and has been approved as a diesel fuel replacement.

MBA graduate from IIM Kolkata, S Viraraghavan, known as ‘Vira’ among his friends is the founder of GREENJOULES.

In 1990, he began his career with the consumer products giant Godrej. Vira spent 29 years in the corporate world, holding major positions with worldwide brands such as Cargill and Pepsi, among others.

However, his compassion toward the environment and close connections with farmers while working at Cargill soon became his mission.

After some research and conversations with friends, Vira left his corporate job in 2018 to build a startup that produces ‘drop-in fuels’ or second-generation biofuels. Second-generation biofuels, often known as advanced biofuels, are fuels made from non-food biomass. In this application, biomass refers to plant and animal waste that is utilised primarily as a fuel source.

Creating A Circular Economy Based On Green Chemistry

Greenjoules, as the name implies, is a contemporary organization that promotes trustworthy, simple, accessible, and innovative solutions to assist customers in navigating and finding energy solutions that best meet their requirements.

They are dedicated to providing customized solutions for bio-waste, which is a possible hazard to the environment and is difficult to dispose of or re-use.

Green Joules converts bio waste into common fuel that can be utilized industrially and commercially. They developed a unique set of processing conditions that allow their fuel to have a far lighter carbon impact than ethanol and biodiesel.

green joules biofuel
Image Source: greenjoules.in

Their biofuel is carbon neutral and low in energy use, making it a sustainable reality. The carbon released into the atmosphere by diesel combustion is absorbed by all carbon-rich waste, thereby maintaining the environment’s carbon balance.

The fuel is produced in accordance with the BIS 1460 Standards that petroleum diesel comes in. It can be used without modification in existing diesel engines, gensets, or boilers.

Image Source: greenjoules.in

From its biorefinery in Chakan, Pune, the company currently serves multiple enterprise customers. It intends to dramatically increase output by establishing a huge site in Pune to meet rising demand for biofuel.

Top Biofuel Solutions Provided By Green Joules

1. Abhilasha Liquid Fuel

Abhilasha liquid fuel, a biofuel studied and approved by the Indian Institute of Technology (IIT) Chennai, is the company’s primary product.

Abhilasha biofuel meets HSD requirements and is compatible with BIS VI and Euro VI standards. It can be utilized in any machinery, either alone or in combination with fossil diesel, without modification. Sulphur oxides is practically non-existent, opening up new opportunities for power generation and cost-cutting in pollution-control equipment, while eliminating hazards such as acid rain.

2. Abhilasha Biochar

The Greenjoules manufacturing method produces biochar as a byproduct. It can be used as a natural fertilizer after being processed with organic manures and biofertilizers such as compost.

Biochar can absorb five times its weight in water, as well as store carbon and absorb nutrients like nitrogen and phosphorus, increasing soil quality for agriculture.

Image Source: greenjoules.in

Because of its particular composition, Abhilasha biochar can also be used in sustainable buildings. It can be used as a replacement for cement or manufactured into bricks. Biochar can also be used as an insect repellant.

Future Plans For Greenjoules

“We are talking to various investors who can fund the project and run it independently. Greenjoules will provide them with the technology, raw material so that the whole thing works” 

Said  VS Shridhar, CEO, Greenjoules in an interview.

Greenjoules is currently commercializing their Abhilasha gaseous fuel, which has qualities similar to LPG and similar energy content.

Image Source: pexels.com

According to the founders of the start-up, establishing a new 100 kiloliters bio-fuel plant will cost at least Rs 80 Cr, which they believe will be recovered in 24-30 months. Greenjoules intends to build refineries that can produce 7,500 kiloliters of biofuel per year.

If you liked reading this post, you should also read about waste to wealth – GPS renewables, a company that makes biofuel and green products from organic waste.

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