United Nations Award Goes to Company born out of Aston University Pollution Project

Rice stumble on fire in India in partially foresred landscape. Smoke hangs heavily in the air

An energy start-up in India, born out of an Aston University scheme aiming to tackle the international challenge of dealing with agricultural waste, has won a prestigious prize.

A2P Energy, formed through the university’s European Bioenergy Research Institute’s (EBRI) Energy Harvest project, won The United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) award, which recognises the work being done in India to combat air pollution.

The company, founded in 2018 by Sukhmeet Singh and Robert Berry, seeks to provide a solution to the challenge existing in Northwest India relating to agricultural waste management. Farmers in Punjab, Haryana and Uttar Pradesh regularly burn residual rice straw as it is seen as having little value. The burning causes substantial local disruption and health problems; additionally, large amounts of pollution are then blown by prevailing winds to the heavily populated city of Delhi.

In a bid to reduce the resulting health problems, A2P has established a supply chain that collects the paddy straw and produces energy pellets that can be used as a replacement for non-renewable fuels. These pellets can also be transformed through EBRI’s expertise in pyrolysis technology into biochar to help improve soil structure and crop yields.

The UNDP award, the latest accolade that A2P has won, will help the start-up to carry out a pilot in one of the UN’s selected cities in India.

Sukhmeet Singh, Co-founder and CEO of A2P Energy said: “A2P Energy is proud to be recognised among the UNDP’s top three companies in India working on combating air pollution.

“From its birth, the company has managed to save biomass from over 1000 acres from being burned in the open field, and thus helping the planet and the pollution problem in India; as well as generating annual permanent and part-time employment for 55 local people.

“A2P Energy, through this initiative with UNDP, and through the technology support from Aston University, aims to be a frontrunner in providing Green Energy solutions in India and making a real positive impact on the environment and improving farmers’ income.”

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