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Garima Rakesh Mishra | The Indian Express
February 23, 2017 1:50 am
The near-quadrupling of milk procurement by dairy cooperatives in Gujarat over the last 15 years — from an average of 45 lakh litres to about 170 lakh litres per day — has been attributed no less to a single factor: 24-hour power in rural areas, including guaranteed three-phase supply for eight hours, enabling village-level societies to install bulk milk coolers (BMC). These, with capacities ranging from 1,000 to 10,000 litres, chill the milk to around 4 degrees celsius at the primary collection point itself, inhibiting microbial growth that can lead to undesirable quality/taste changes and expedite spoilage.
But maintaining the freshness of raw milk sourced from farmers isn’t all that the BMCs have done.
In the pre-BMC era, the milk collected by the society had to reach the dairy plant by 8:30 am or so, before day temperatures rose. It required procurement to start by 6 am and farmers undertaking milking at least an hour earlier, so as to not miss the tanker. The sheer need to hurry through the process, moreover, limited the number of animals that could be milked. With BMCs, the milk was chilled at source and remained fresh, which gave farmers the flexibility to deliver even at 9 am. They could now afford to expand their herd size and supply more milk.
Today, an estimated 80 per cent of milk collected by Gujarat’s dairy unions comes through BMCs and it is not difficult to see the link between these and higher procurement volumes.
Not every state, unfortunately though, is Gujarat — where farmers have assured electricity supply allowing milk to be chilled not very long after it has left the udders of cows or buffaloes. In much of rural India, power supply is irregular, which means even BMCs cannot do without the backup of diesel generators.
This is where an innovation by Promethean Power Systems, a Pune-based company founded by two men from Boston has made a difference. In 2011, Sorin Grama and Sam White built the final prototype of a Rapid Milk Chiller (RMC) based on a proprietary Thermal Storage System (TSS) technology. At the heart of it lay a thermal battery, which drew and stored electricity from the grid as and when available. This stored energy it then released to rapidly chill the milk collected from farmers at ambient temperatures — say, 35 degrees — to 4 degrees Celsius.
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by Promethean Power Systems
Sneha Jha | Economic Times CIO
February 01, 2017, 11:55 IST
Khanderao Nimbhorkar, a 45-year-old dairy farmer from Ahmednagar district’s Hattalkhindi village, is brimming with confidence and excitement. His dairy farming activities now fetch him a tidy sum of Rs 20,000 per month. Coming this far would not have been possible for Nimbhorkar without the help of Pune-based refrigeration solution provider Promethean Power systems. Co-founded by Boston-based entrepreneurs Sorin Grama and Sam White, the company has come up with a socially-relevant invention to strengthen the weakest link in the chain of dairy farming: milk collection.
As the largest milk producer and consumer in the world, India has earned the sobriquet of the oyster of the global dairy industry. It accounts for 18 percent of global milk production in the world. Rural India churns out 102 million gallons of milk every year, generating employment for over 75 million dairy farmers.
Read the full story here.
Anjuli Bhargava | Business Standard
January 30, 2017
In life, it’s easier to fail than to succeed. Romania-born Sorin Grama and US-born Sam White learnt this the hard way in India. The two are co-founders of Promethean Power Systems, a company they set up in India some years earlier, moved base to Delhi for a while to sell their idea and, after having tasted many failures, seem to finally be on the way to achieving a degree of success. In 2007, the duo first came to India to try and sell a technology developed by some of their fellow MIT students.
As the New Year begins, looking back at the ground Promethean Power Systems has covered in 2016 can provide clear insight into how the company can use its innovative chilling technology to help dairy partners improve quality and save cost. The Powering Agriculture: An Energy Grand Challenge for Development (PAEGC) annual report for financial year 2016 gives Promethean Power Systems an opportunity to do precisely that.
The latest PAEGC annual report features Promethean Power Systems’ progress in helping its dairy partners switch over to a cleaner and more cost-effective way to chill milk. Promethean’s major collaborators on the project are Hatsun Agro, India’s largest private dairy company, and Orb Energy, a leading solar energy solutions provider in India.
The report assesses the commercial and social benefits of Promethean’s refrigeration solution covering specific aspects such as wider market linkage to farmers, higher income through improved milk quality, reduced milk spoilage, and elimination of diesel as a power backup source.
PAEGC is an initiative undertaken collectively by The United States Agency for International Development (USAID), the Government of Sweden (Sida), the Government of Germany (BMZ), Duke Energy Corporation, and the United States Overseas Private Investment Corporation (OPIC).
Since 2012, PAEGC has been supporting the development and deployment of clean energy innovations that increase agriculture productivity and stimulate low-carbon economic growth in the agriculture sector of developing countries to help end extreme poverty and extreme hunger.
Under Promethean’s Progress Update section, the Powering Agriculture annual report observes that:
“Promethean has now sold over 400 units, of which they have deployed and commissioned over 250 milk chillers coupled to its patented Thermal Battery. The remaining units are pending installation or are in production today. To date, none of the 250 Promethean chillers in the field have required a diesel generator. Without Promethean’s Thermal Battery, a traditional milk chiller would have run diesel generators to chill milk in these villages, leading to higher costs and increased carbon emissions, or milk chillers would not have been installed at all, leading to greater spoilage and decreased quality of milk. As deployment of the chillers continues, Promethean has been able to adapt the solar component design to address specific logistical needs of dairy partners.”
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PUNE: City-based refrigeration solution provider, Promethean Power Systems, said that it now will foray into the neighbouring countries of Bangladesh and Sri Lanka.
The company, founded in the US in 2007, launched a manufacturing and testing facility in India in 2013. Since then, Promethean said it has sold over 500 milk chilling units to its dairy partners in India – most of them in villages.
“Data collected over the last three years shows that at nearly every site, Promethean’s milk chillers have helped deliver benefits on three fronts: reduction in milk spoilage, improvement in milk quality, and elimination of diesel for power back-up,” the company said in a statement.
Promethean now also plans to take its chillers, which are entirely made in India, to other countries in South Asia as well as new markets in east Africa.
“Anticipating an increase in new orders, Promethean has ramped up local manufacturing in Pune to double its current capacity, which now stands at 300 units per year,” the company said in a statement.
The bustling port city of Visakhapatnam, located on the Eastern coast of India, is increasingly assuming a cosmopolitan character – a change propelled by the rising aspirations of consumers. With consumers now willing to spend more on healthy living, the city is witnessing heightened demand for healthier produce, which, in turn, has prompted the rise of businesses offering premium quality products to discerning consumers.
Simhadri Dairy, an innovative dairy start-up, is one such enterprise that is changing the status quo in the dairy sector. Not content with providing consumers the same products as their competitors, Mr. Ramesh Kolli, Managing Director, Simhadri Dairy, was looking for a solution that would help him bring high-quality milk to consumers in Vizag.
In order to achieve this, Simhadri Dairy needed to procure superior quality milk with a high MBRT time, hygienically process it, and bring it to consumers’ doorsteps in the shortest possible time while retaining its natural taste and aroma.
To help Simhadri do so, Promethean Power Systems recommended the Rapid Milk Chiller Premium (RMCP). Using a combination of a rapid chiller and a 1000L stainless steel tank, the RMCP is a modular solution for customers looking to collect high-quality milk. The RMCP first instantly chills milk to 4°C in a single pass and then automatically maintains milk temperature between 4°C and 6°C in the active storage tank without the use of a diesel generator.
Re-introducing Consumers to Healthier Milk with Clean-energy-based Chilling
Mr. Ramesh, who has business interests in the shipbuilding industry in Malaysia and Singapore, entered the dairy industry recently. His plans include selling high-quality milk in the city and its precincts under the Simhadri brand. Simhadri Dairy’s portfolio currently comprises fresh milk (toned, full cream, and skimmed), ghee, curd, paneer, and butter milk.
The benefits linked to chilling raw milk rapidly with low operational costs were what prompted Simhadri dairy’s investment in the Rapid Milk Chillers (RMC). Simhadri Dairy essentially wanted a solution to preserve milk quality that would be cost-effective, eco-friendly, and scalable as they expand their collection footprint.
Promethean’s Success at Villages near Visakhapatnam Inspires Simhadri Dairy
Before placing an order for their very first Rapid Milk Chiller from Promethean Power, officials from Simhadri Dairy wanted to check its performance at an actual site. To do this, they visited a milk collection center near Visakhapatnam, where one of India’s largest private dairies uses Promethean’s Rapid Milk Chillers to procure high-quality milk for value-added products such as UHT milk.
Excited by the technology and cost-effectiveness of Promethean’s solution, Simhadri Dairy placed an order for a Rapid Milk Chiller Premium.
“We are excited about partnering with new and innovative dairy farms as it gives us an opportunity to enable the procurement of more high-quality milk that can be delivered directly to consumers. Our RMCP gives the staff at Simhadri Dairy the ability to preserve quality and freshness of milk without having to worry about power outages during milk collection. In addition, our RMCP for Simhadri also features a remote data monitoring system that will help the management track milk chilling operations from their computer or smartphone even as they go about other important tasks,” says Jiten Ghelani, CEO, Promethean Power Systems.
With Simhadri Dairy’s milk procurement estimated to increase in the near future, the company is making plans to purchase more Rapid Milk Chillers from Promethean.
Promethean Power Systems has developed a milk chiller that operates on a thermal energy battery and can function even in remote Indian villages receiving intermittent electricity supply. Founded by US-based Sorin Grama and Sam White in 2007, Promethean Power has installed over 200 milk chilling systems throughout rural India. About 20 farmers can use one chiller. These are farmers who were unable to supply milk to dairies earlier because they couldn’t refrigerate the milk without reliable electricity.
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India is the highest milk producing country in the world. In the agricultural economy of India, milk is the second-largest commodity contributing to the gross national product, next only to rice. In 2014-15, India’s annual output of milk stood at 146.3 million tonnes. By 2022, the National Dairy Development Board (NDDB) projects that the demand for milk will reach 180 million tonnes. To keep supply consistent with this projected demand, India’s dairy production needs to achieve an annual incremental increase in of 5 million tonnes.
In recent years, the growing population, higher incomes and heightened health awareness among domestic consumers have only created a higher demand for high-quality milk and milk products in India. The effect of this change is evident with retail shelves in the country now making space for value-added products such as UHT milk, cheese, yogurt, and ice cream.
These factors collectively turn the spotlight back on the importance of village-level dairy development to achieve sustained volume growth.
Experts agree that the need of the hour to meet India’s evolving dairy needs is long-shelf-life products such as ultra-high-temperature processed (UHT) milk. However, the quality of most value-added products is directly related to the quality raw milk, which is determined by its MBRT level.
A high MBRT level of milk guarantees its good quality. The Methylene Blue Dye Reduction Test is a quick method to assess the microbiological quality of raw and pasteurized milk. This test has been used as the acceptance or rejection criteria for raw and processed milk.
In India, where milk primarily comes from millions of individual dairy farmers who sell milk to the nearest dairy collection center before it is transported to the dairy processor’s facility, it is a challenge to maintain the quality of milk in the face of difficulties such as hot climate, unreliable electricity supply, and other factors such as inefficient milk chillers.
The Bureau of Indian Standards’ (BIS) 1479 (Part 3): 1977 criterion grades raw milk based on MBRT thus:
Heritage Foods Ltd is one of the fastest-growing public listed companies in India. Heritage Dairy has a chilling capacity of 1.68 million liters per day, a processing capacity of 1.53 million liters per day, and packaging capacity of 1.06 million liters per day. In keeping with shifting dairy consumption trends in India, Heritage plans to bring more value-added products to Indian consumers.
The average shelf life of fresh pouched milk that Heritage sells is about 2-3 days. Since this time span creates an impediment in distributing the product in deep rural markets, Heritage wanted to launch UHT milk with a retail shelf life of at least 7 days. However, selling the UHT milk at a premium would turn consumers away. So would a drop in the quality of milk. This called for the deployment of a solution that would keep costs in check while retaining the desired quality of milk.
This is where Promethean Power Systems’ Rapid Milk Chiller was able to provide an efficient and scalable solution to Heritage Foods. After the installation of Promethean’s Rapid Milk Chiller Premium in their village collection centers, the MBRT level of milk collected by Heritage Foods has increased to 4.5 hours.
Promethean Power Systems Rapid Milk Chiller helps chill milk even in the most remote places where electricity trickles in intermittently. Promethean’s Rapid Milk Chiller is based on thermal energy storage technology which has dual benefits. This milk chilling system instantly cools milk from 35 degrees Celsius to 4 degrees Celsius without the need for a diesel generator as a power backup source.
Since it eliminates the use of a diesel generator, it provides cost efficiency as well as an eco-friendly alternative to dairy processors. The Rapid Milk Chiller and Rapid Milk Chiller Premium have shown proven results in increasing the MBRT level of milk.
The Rapid Milk Chiller Premium solution from Promethean chills milk through a two-stage process:
In stage 1, the Rapid Milk Chiller lowers the temperature of milk from 35 degrees Celsius to a mere 8 degrees Celsius within seconds, eliminating most of the bacteria. This is the most important step in assuring the quality of milk needed for a higher shelf life. In stage 2, the chilled milk is then poured into an active cooling tank which reduces the temperature of the milk gradually to 4 degrees Celsius.
This solution ultimately helps ensure that by the time milk reaches dairy processors, it continues to remain within the mandated quality parameters.
To read more about Promethean’s Rapid Milk Chiller, please visit: http://www.promethean-power.com/
Much like the South Asian markets where Promethean is currently active, the dairy industry in Africa, too, is brimming with latent opportunities.Promethean Power Systems recently had the opportunity to explore this developing market at the 12th African Dairy Conference and Exhibition (12th AfDa).
Milk production and consumption in countries such as Kenya, Rwanda, Tanzania, and Uganda is on an upswing. However, the African dairy industry faces numerous challenges.The most prominent of which are: low quality of milk, low production and collection volumes, limited expertise in milk processing and preservation, unreliable grid supply, and long transit times.
The 12th AfDa, held in Kigali from August 31 to September 2 2016, was an event that discussed how these changes are shaping the region’s dairy sector. The theme of the 2016 conference was, “African Dairy; the Future Begins Here”.
Promethean Power Systems was invited to participate in the conference to introduce dairy processors in African countries to a cost-effective, eco-friendly and diesel-free alternative to chilling milk – one that uses thermal-energy-storage-based systems. At the conference, Jofi Joseph, Director of Sales & Marketing, Promethean Power Systems, spoke on the topic, “Milk bulking and quality at the farm.”
Milk production in Africa has grown steadily in response to the overall economic growth and health awareness. Most of the milk production in East Africa is run by small-scale farmers. There is a growing interest among the governments to develop the dairy industry as it provides a regular income source for the farmers.
The major hurdle in all of these countries is the lack of adequate infrastructure both at the farm and at the processing facilities. There is also a conscious effort by the dairy companies to shift the consumption pattern from liquid milk to products such as cheese, yogurt, and flavored milk. All these products require high-quality milk as their input which is an area where Promethean can make a difference.
To achieve significant growth in production, the dairy industry in Africa requires solutions that are efficient, cost-effective, and eco-friendly. Promethean’s conventional and Rapid Milk Chillers can potentially address the challenges faced by dairy processors in electricity-scarce African nations.
Compared to India and Bangladesh, African nations have a relatively lower ratio of villages where milk is chilled at the village-level. For instance, the entire country of Rwanda has an estimated 100 milk coolers, which is lower even than the number of units installed in a few districts in the Indian state of Maharashtra. This demonstrates the need for implementation of state-of-the-art dairy supply chain technology in the African dairy industry.
The conference has helped Promethean open discussions with local NGOs and establishments in Africa. African government officials have shown a keen interest in Promethean’s thermal-energy-based milk chillers and solutions that offer partial usage of electricity. Representatives from “Send a Cow”, an NGO working with small dairy farmers in East Africa, visited the Promethean factory and sites to gain a better understanding of the technology and evaluate implementation in their areas of operation.
“With a growing dairy industry and limited electrification, we see Africa as a very promising market for our innovative refrigeration solutions. We believe we can help dairy farmers and processors bring quality products to consumers. Our medium-term plans include the establishment of a permanent presence in Africa. Until then, we are planning to work with African dairy processors by shipping units from India,” said Jofi.
By Jason Margolis | PRI
August 23, 2016
Sorin Grama had a great idea. Like, a really terrific idea. It was so good, MIT awarded him one of its most prestigious entrepreneurship prizes: second place in the university’s annual 100K Entrepreneurship Competition.
Grama’s team built a machine using old car parts that can heat water without electricity. Think of the possibilities in rural parts of the developing world: Medical clinics could sterilize devices, people could clean clothes with warm water, or they could just take a hot shower, all without being connected to a grid. Revolutionary, right?
Grama took the invention to India expecting a huge response. Instead, he got: “Yeah, OK, that’s fine. But it doesn’t solve our problem.”
He had miscalculated. Rural Indians didn’t want to talk about hot water; they wanted to talk about cold milk.
“We were a classic case of a technology looking for a problem to solve,” Grama says.
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By Jeff Engel | Xconomy
July 11th, 2016
Xconomy Boston — When Promethean Power Systems’ founders wrote the original business plan for their cleantech startup at MIT, they intended to sell their products in India first. But none of them had ever set foot on Indian soil.
After winning $10,000 as the runner-up in the MIT $100K pitch competition in 2007, co-founders Sorin Grama and Sam White decided it was time to visit their target market, Grama says.
“The reality was a lot different than what we had put in our business plan,” Grama (pictured above, left) says. “So different, in fact, that nobody wanted this contraption we were building”—a system that would harness the sun’s energy to produce hot water and electricity. “We realized we were just another classic case of a solution looking for a problem to solve.”
They found a problem by chance, Grama says, during a meeting in India with the managing director of a dairy business. He described the difficulty in efficiently collecting milk from farmers in small villages, and keeping it fresh.
Promethean Power Systems’ Rapid Milk Chillers will now help Heritage Foods process higher volumes of better quality milk. Heritage Foods, one of the fastest-growing public listed companies in India, which boasts a processing capacity of 1.53 million litres of milk per day, recently installed Promethean’s Rapid Milk Chiller at its Munagapaka site near Visakhapatnam on June 10, 2016.
The unit was inaugurated by Mrs. Bhuvaneswari Nara, vice-chairperson and managing director, Heritage Foods.
Within a few weeks of installing the Rapid Milk Chiller, Heritage Foods has seen a 6x increase in milk procurement. The availability of an instant chilling option to preserve the quality of milk and save it from spoilage has inspired confidence among farmers, which has helped increase procurement volume, said officials at Heritage Dairy.
Improvements are also being reported in the quality of milk processed. Mr. Divakara Rao, Zonal Head, Visakhapatnam district, said that the unit has helped them achieve a high MBRT level.
If you would like to learn more or see a demonstration of the Rapid Milk Chiller, please contact the Promethean team.
By Tim Binkert & Clinton Parks
May 10, 2016
Founding any new business is extremely difficult and more hard work than most people can imagine. Founding a new technology-based business is arguably tougher than that, and founding a tech hardware (rather than software) venture even tougher than that. But perhaps the toughest of all is developing and scaling a technology-based hardware venture in remote areas with scarce resources for the benefit people living in extreme poverty.
A new report from FSG, Hardware Pioneers: Harnessing the Impact Potential of Technology Entrepreneurs, funded by The Lemelson Foundation, investigates the obstacles specific to these hardware pioneers–people working on toilets, lighting, clean water and other innovations that if brought to scale could have major impact on the health, lifespan, and productivity of the world’s poor.
Somerville, Mass. and Colombo, Sri Lanka – May 2, 2016 – Promethean Power Systems and Fonterra, the dairy co-operative behind Anchor milk brand, have partnered to introduce a new rapid milk chilling technology that will drastically improve the quality of Sri Lankan milk.
In just a matter of seconds, Promethean Power Systems’ rapid chillers chill the milk that the farmers deliver to their local collection centers. The technology – the first of its kind – uses an innovative thermal energy storage device to overcome limited and sometimes unreliable electricity supply in rural areas.
The milk chiller is being piloted at Fonterra’s milk collection center in Doluwa, with plans to roll out the technology across Fonterra’s milk collection network across Sri Lanka.
Mr. Saman Perera, Fonterra’s Dairy Development Programme Manager, said: “Fonterra is committed to working with Sri Lankan dairy farmers to improve milk quality and increase local supply; however, Sri Lanka’s hot climate and low milk density means that getting milk quickly to the right temperature can be a challenge.”
“An important part of our efforts to improve milk quality is using refrigeration systems that can chill milk in a cost-effective and safe way closer to the rural dairy farmers who supply it. This helps to reduce milk waste in the supply chain, and creates more value for our farmers,” said Mr. Perera.
Promethean Power Systems manufactures a range of milk chillers which are quickly being adopted in other countries, such as India, because of their ability to chill the milk rapidly to four degrees Celsius using limited grid power. Promethean’s innovation is centered on a thermal battery designed specifically for refrigeration applications in rural areas. “The thermal battery serves a dual purpose: it provides backup for the unreliable grid and it releases thermal energy to rapidly chill the milk and preserve its quality”, said Mr. Sorin Grama, Promethean’s co-founder and principal inventor of the technology.
IFC, a member of the World Bank Group, conducted a search for global technologies suitable for village-level cooling in the dairy sector. It found that Promethean Power
Systems’ milk chilling technology could provide a viable solution. This research led to the Fonterra-Promethean partnership to install the first rapid milk chiller of its kind in Sri Lanka.
“Introducing cooling systems at the village level can both improve the quality of milk and increase the quantity of available milk,” said Amena Arif, IFC’s Country Manager for Sri Lanka and Maldives. “This partnership will improve the livelihoods of thousands of dairy farmers, and increase the availability of fresh milk in Sri Lanka.”
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RASHMI PRATAP | The Hindu BusinessLine
April 8, 2016
The country annually wastes about 40 per cent of its fruit and vegetable produce, valued at $8 billion. A handful of start-ups want to plug this loss with innovative cold-storage solutions
Each day, farmers deposit about 800 litres of milk at Heritage Dairy’s collection centre in Meerkhanpet village, near Hyderabad. Promethean Power System’s cold storage machine cools the milk in three minutes flat. In case of a power cut, the thermal battery gets into action, working without break to ensure the milk reaches the processing centre fresh and safe.
Miles away in Pune, Marc Cremer and his workers at GreenTokri farms pack fresh lettuce leaves every morning for distribution to customers across the city. Cremer has invested in a cold storage machine, where lettuce from his farm goes directly after harvesting and is instantly cooled to 3°C before being packed into thermocol boxes with Cryo-Gel. So the salads arrive farm-fresh at the retail outlets at 3pm. The cold storage at GreenTokri greatly reduces wastage, an evil that plagues most of India’s farming sector.
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India’s 1.22-billion-strong population is showing a growing demand for high-quality dairy products. UHT milk, gourmet cheeses, probiotic and nutritional drinks, and flavored milk are now commanding more retail shelf space. One might think that for a country that produces the highest amount of milk on earth, responding to this trend would be easy. But that is not quite the case.
Although India boasts nearly 146.3 million tonnes of annual milk production, according to the Indian government’s Economic Survey 2015-16, its dairy industry loses a substantial amount of milk every year to an underdeveloped refrigeration chain. The lack of timely refrigeration also means that the quality of milk is often compromised. This is arguably the most concerning factor for Indian dairy processors and farmers at the collection level.
Combined Problem of Lack of Refrigeration and Unreliable Power Supply
The Promethean Power Systems team believes that the challenges in the dairy supply chain can be addressed by implementing innovative refrigeration technology to reduce spoilage and improve milk quality.
This was the central theme of Sorin Grama’s presentation at the Indian Dairy Association’s 44th Dairy Industry Conference in Karnal recently. Grama, co-founder, Promethean Power Systems, spoke on Using Technology and Innovation to Transform India’s Milk Collection Networks, highlighting these points:
Part of the problem that is restricting village-level milk collection is the complexities associated with the hub-and-spoke model of milk collection. Grama noted that a wider milk collection radius means lower milk quality and higher operating costs. But distributed chilling coupled with diesel-free power backup can help solve this problem.
Transforming Milk Collection with Innovative Chilling Closer to Dairy Farms
Promethean’s patented thermal-energy-storage-based chilling systems from 500-2000L capacity can serve up to 60-70 dairy farmers in villages, giving them the confidence to deliver more milk to their nearest milk collection center. The thermal storage system stores grid energy when it is available, and releases that stored energy to chill milk when the need arises.
With thermal energy storage being a more cost-effective replacement for diesel-generator backup, collection centers and dairy processors are assured of better quality and volumes of milk as well as lower opex. This, in turn, creates greater value for the Indian consumer.
The points that Grama discussed tie in with what T Nanda Kumar, former chairman, National Dairy Development Board (NDDB) said in his keynote speech at the DIC. “The structure of milk production is likely to change. Our milk producers will increasingly adopt new technologies in milk production. Alternatively, small-farmer-friendly machines may come into play… even within the smallholder production systems, improvisation through adoption of modern technology will become prominent,” Mr. Kumar said.
Anmar Frangoul | Special to CNBC.com
As the global population increases, the issue of food waste is becoming increasingly pressing.
According to the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) of the United Nations, 30 to 40 percent of the world’s food production does not even make it to market, with roughly 1.3 billion tons of food – valued at more than $1 trillion – either wasted or lost.
In some parts of the world, the consequences of such wastage can be stark. A 2014 report from the Institute of Mechanical Engineers states a lack of proper storage results in the loss of “up to 50 percent of fruit and vegetables” in Sub-Saharan Africa and India, while 25 percent of milk produced during Tanzania’s wet season is also wasted.
An MIT start-up has developed technology that is dramatically improving the way milk can be stored in Indian communities where access to electricity is difficult and reliable refrigeration is limited.
“Most Indian villages have grid power, they have electricity,” Sorin Grama, co-founder and CTO of Promethean Power Systems, told CNBC in a phone interview. “They’re not completely off grid, they just don’t have power 24 hours a day, they don’t have it when they need it,” he added.
Rob Matheson | MIT News Office
September 7, 2015
India is the world’s leading milk producer, with many of its people relying on milk as a primary source of income. Indian dairies buy milk from local farmers at village collection centers, and then sell the milk or use it to make dairy products.
But with rural India’s limited electric grid, often available for only several hours daily, keeping milk fresh — it must be refrigerated within a few hours of milking — becomes very difficult. Many dairies use expensive diesel generators for refrigeration, or risk high percentages of spoiled product: Of the roughly 130 million tons of milk produced by India each year, millions of tons go to waste or reach the market as low-quality dairy products that pose safety threats. All this also reduces the income of Indian farmers
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by Mike Stone | Greentech Media
July 13, 2015
India is the world’s No. 1 milk producer. Unfortunately, rural India is not well served by the electrical grid — creating problems for milk producers who need to keep their product cool.
In much of India, milk is brought by farmers to small, village-based collection centers. If the milk spoils before being collected from the center by the dairy, the farmer won’t get paid. What’s more, if a farmer misses that day’s pickup from the dairy, the product is unlikely to remain fresh without reliable refrigeration.
The milk industry needs reliable refrigeration, but that’s not easy with a highly unpredictable electrical grid.
The collection centers have a choice: risk spoiled product or invest in a diesel generator for when the grid fails. The second option is not only bad news for the environment — it also considerably inflates the operating cost of refrigeration.
Promethean Power Systems has come up with a solution to the problem. The company is manufacturing milk-chilling units connected to a patent-pending thermal battery that uses a phase-change material to store 28 kilowatt-hours of energy in the form of ice.
Somerville, Mass. and Pune, India – July 6, 2015 – Millions of small farmers combine to help India produce more milk than any country on the planet, yet much of that spoils before ever reaching market. To mitigate the risk of wasted milk and food safety concerns, Promethean Power Systems, a manufacturer of thermal energy storage systems for refrigeration applications, has installed more than 2.5 MWh of distributed thermal energy storage in rural India with its latest village-level chilling system.
Many rural areas live with an electrical grid that is not available 24 hours a day, making milk refrigeration a rarity. In these conditions, refrigeration equipment requires a backup diesel generator, doubling the capital cost and tripling the operating cost. Due to the lack of proper refrigeration, a majority of India’s milk spoils or finds its way into consumer products at such low quality that it becomes a food safety threat.
Promethean Power Systems solved this problem by developing an inexpensive and reliable thermal battery for providing grid backup. Promethean Power Systems’ thermal battery stores thermal energy in the few hours when the grid is available and releases the energy when needed to provide cooling power.
“We recently received a new, large order from one of India’s largest dairies that happens to be an existing customer. Repeat orders are important to us because it proves that our systems meet our customer’s needs and demonstrates market adoption,” said Sorin Grama, Promethean Power Systems’ co-founder and principal inventor of Promethean’s thermal battery. “We continue to receive new orders from additional dairies which is always encouraging, demonstrating the impact we’re making throughout the country.”
Promethean Power Systems manufactures a complete line of rural milk refrigeration systems based around its patent-pending thermal battery. The thermal battery was developed with funds from the National Science Foundation, The Lemelson Foundation and a number of individual and institutional investors. The Indian dairy industry is the first commercial application of the technology.
To learn more about Promethean Power Systems, please visit www.promethean-power.com.
About Promethean Power Systems Promethean Power Systems is a privately-held technology company that develops and manufactures complete refrigeration systems for agricultural cold-chain in developing countries. The company is headquartered in Somerville, MA at Greentown Labs, the country’s largest cleantech incubator, and manufactures the technology in Pune, India. For more information visit www.promethean-power.com or connect with Promethean Power Systems on Twitter.
Name: Sam White
Company: Promethean Power Systems
Phone: +1 (617) 512 8811