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From Waste to Watts: The Innovative Way One City Converts Trash Into Energy

Turns out, yard trimmings and sewer sludge can be used to power electricity plants.

By Paige Brettingen

Covington plant

Even for the most environmentally conscious residents, it’s not always easy—or possible—to recycle everything. From dead tree limbs to busted tires, most people have had to occasionally resort to using the garbage bin. But in Covington, Tenn., hard-to-recycle items are bypassing the landfill and being converted into electricity.

Though Covington has a population of just over 9,000, its biomass waste—which includes tree trimmings and sewer sludge—was adding up enough for David Gordon, who was mayor at the time, to start worrying about storage space. Also, the massive amount of waste required vehicles to transport it, putting an extra strain on the city budget.

While brainstorming solutions, Gordon learned that Covington’s 360 tons of monthly biomass waste could be repurposed thanks to a waste-to-fuel gasification system developed by Nashville-based PHG Energy.

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India needs to overcome 'white hair syndrome', Ratan Tata says

 Tata group’s chairman emeritus Ratan Tata onThursday said Indians have tremendous potential for inventions and innovations but the country needs to overcome its “white hair syndrome” which restricts opportunities.
“I have always really felt India has tremendous potential for inventions and innovations, but we never really had the opportunity because we suffer from the ‘white hair syndrome’. I have white hair (experience) and your idea is never as good as mine,” Tata said at an event where the XPrize organization launched its India chapter.

Tata said he always visualized that an Indian engineer or an inventor solving global problems.

“An Indian engineer or an inventor could solve a global problem but never had a chance to do that from India, and now this may provide a motivation for that to happen. Your ideas have been so visionary. There have always been things considered technically impossible — artificial eyes, autonomous cars, robots, application of robots, things of this nature,” he said.

“This XPrize really broke that tradition to enable a 20-year old to have a great idea and be recognized on a global level for what he has done, with no limitation on his age or wealth or his name, and makes no limitation on what he chooses to do,” Tata said at the event.

XPrize is a USA-based non-profit organization, which motivated development of ideas with large prizes, on whose board Tata serves, along with Google founder Larry Page, acclaimed movie maker James Cameron, Arianna Huffington of Huffington Post as well as PayPal co-founder Elon Musk, among others.

“For me, this is an opportunity. You are very receptive to taking XPrize to India and not restricting it to the USA. Why not look at a country like India which I think has enormous capabilities and strength,” Tata said.

Asked about what his dreams are for XPrize India, Tata said, “I think that depends on imagination. What I would like to see is that we give India, and our entrepreneurs, a chance to participate in an area that the US has excelled in, as well as an opportunity to take a chance, to undertake to do something that is considered impossible, and to achieve that in an organised manner with incentives,” Tata said.

“I would hope that one day, XPrize India becomes globally visible as a Nobel Prize and in many ways a Nobel Prize for innovation,” he said.

India has shown its innovation skills in many areas, Tata said.

“In the medical area also, it has been genome sequencing. It has always been something that is not easy to do. Dreams form a spark and you have the satisfaction of converting it into reality,” he said.

Tata said he got attracted to the XPrize as it encouraged to people and facilitated change.

“I was drawn to technological motivation coupled with the physical feat of doing something and not just doing it in a lab, but out in the real world,” he said.

Eureka! – An International Business Plan Competition

Aimed at encouraging people all around the world to unleash their inventive potential and flesh out ideas spanning multiple dimensions, Eureka! is Asia’s largest B-Plan competition as acknowledged independently by CNN and Thomson Reuters.

Designed to emulate the process of the growth of an idea towards a full-fledged startup. Eureka! prides itself on providing a 360 degree, holistic experience in the 5 month period that it spans. Right from acknowledging that your idea has potential, to writing a B-Plan, and pitching in front of an investor- this platform has it all !

Over the 15 years of its existence, Eureka has grown from a competition in which 50 teams competed for INR 50,000 , to a competition which sees over 6000 entries competing for prizes worth INR 4.5 Million with excellent networking opportunities in India and the Silicon Valley !

Eureka! now serves not only as a launch pad for budding ideas, but now has moved to be recognised as a platform for intensive learning of the entrepreneurial ecosystem by interactions and mentorship from the leaders of this field.

With the vision of promoting both business and social innovations, we follow two tracks:

  • Eureka! Business
  • Eureka! Social

Eureka! Business

The trademark of Eureka!, the business track of Eureka! is aimed at helping ideas develop into businesses that have the potential to revolutionize the world.

Eureka! Social

Now into its 4th successful year, Eureka! Social aims at helping build innovative enterprises and technology to aid the strata at the bottom of the pyramid and/or build a greener tomorrow. With associations like NSEF, Ashoka and Villgro, Eureka! Social runs as a parallel side track to Eureka! Business.

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From No Electricity to WiFi and CCTV: How One Man Transformed This Gujarat Village

CaptureMicrosoft Ventures is a strategic partner for promising startups around the world focused on business growth & development, industrial strength technology and beautiful usable products. Build locally, scale globally. We help smart companies take flight.

Every startup is unique. Microsoft Ventures has programs to help, no matter what stage of development your startup is in.

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Worldwide, around 10,000 people die every day due to lack of clean drinking water. The situation is alarming, but bio-sand filters offer a simple and affordable solution. This low cost model purifies water, is locally manufactured and can also help the local community with various livelihood options. And, all of that in just Rs.3,000! Read along to know how it is done.

Water borne diseases are the number one  cause of deaths worldwide, with WHO and CDC estimates pinning 3.5 million deaths every year to contaminated drinking water. In India alone, around 2,000 people die every day due to lack of clean drinking water, and out of these, children under the age of five are most vulnerable.

Most villagers consume unsafe drinking water on a daily basis. Some of these families opt for boiling the water prior to drinking which can be costly. Those who can afford it, buy bottled water to reduce the risks of such diseases, while economically and financially weaker people continue to consume impure water which eventually causes disease and death.

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Innovation is not just a good sounding word – it is in actual action; and it doesn’t need  any qualifications !

Courtesy : Kartik Pandit


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