CII Confers honour on Promethean Power Systems

ST Correspondent | Sakaal Times
September, 2017

Promethean Power Systems, India’s leading cold chain company, was awarded the “Significant Achievement in Innovation” award for its innovative cooling solutions by CII (Confederation of Indian Industry).

Promethean Power Systems, one ofIndia’s leading cold chain companies,was honoured by CII (Confederation of Indian Industry) for Significant Achievement in Innovation recently.  The company has manufacturing and testing facilities in Pune, with a technology and research centre in Boston, USA.

The award recognizes Promethean’s accomplishments in developing cold chain solutions for India’s leading food processors that are cost-effective and eco-friendly, based on its patented thermal-energy storage technology for milk chilling and cold-storage applications.

The prestigious 7th National Cold Chain Summit and Awards were held by CII (Confederation of Indian Industry) on 25th September, 2017 in New Delhi and showcased emerging technologies and advancements for the cold chain sector in India. One of the most notable awards granted for the “Significant Achievement in Innovation” was presented to Promethean for its years of persistent hard work, dedication and belief that technology could create a win-win-win solution for food and dairy processors, smallholder farmers and consumers.

According to officials, Promethean’s products enable its customers to reliably chill and preserve perishable food by eliminating the need for diesel generator backup. “The company’s Rapid Milk Chillers, Bulk Milk Coolers and Cold Storage Solutions are creating cost-effective solutions for cold-chain food distribution in emerging markets along with delivering social and environmental benefits. Promethean has now installed over 600 milk chillers and cold storage solutions across India, Bangladesh, and Sri Lanka,“ they stated.

“We are honoured to be selected by CII for this prestigious award as it further validates the impact of our technology on food quality in India’s agricultural sector”, said Jiten Ghelani, CEO, Promethean Power Systems.

Jofi Joseph, Vice President, Promethean Power Systems, accepted the award and added “We strive to be the first choice for clients requiring cold chain solutions by adapting our technology to solve significant challenges in the agricultural supply chain for our customers”.

 


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BRAC Dairy Eliminates Milk Spoilage

FE Online Desk | 26 Jun 2017

The partnership between BRAC and Promethean Power Systems to reduce spoilage of raw milk produced by dairy farmers has proven a success. Buoyed by the success of their initial investment in five Rapid Milk Chillers, BRAC has recently purchased 19 more similar units from Promethean. The aim is to link more dairy farmers to key markets while maintaining the quality of raw milk, said a statement.

BRAC collects milk from over 100 village-level chilling centers, where at least 50,000 dairy farmers pool their daily produce, to sell packaged dairy products under its Aarong brand. In the long run, this is expected to bring more consumers into the fold of the formal, processed and packaged milk market in Bangladesh.

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Promethean Power’s Rapid Milk Chillers use a patented thermal energy storage technology that instantly chills raw milk to 4 degrees centigrade at the milk collection centers even in the absence of grid electricity and without using a diesel generator, has revolutionized quality assurance mechanism by helping farmers preserve milk it is collected for processing by overcoming common limitations faced by farmers in the developing nations – irregular electricity supply, poor infrastructure, and expensive diesel generator backup.

As milk spoilage rates have dramatically dipped following the installation of the Rapid Milk Chillers, BRAC has been able to instill greater confidence among dairy farmers about finding guaranteed offtake of their milk every day. As timely milk chilling continues to bring better returns to farmers based on the quality of milk, many have made profits substantial enough to afford an investment in new cows — a mark of both progress and prestige in the local community.

Nour-E-Alom, Manager, Milk Procurement, BRAC Dairy and Food Enterprise, said that they were looking for a solution that would be cost effective, eco-friendly, and scalable. “Promethean’s solution for our milk collection center is both cost effective and eco-friendly and we are extremely happy with the results. By installing Promethean’s Rapid Milk Chillers in the villages, we are able to eliminate wastage by over 90% and increase the volume of our collection,” he said.

Jofi Joseph, Director of Sales and Marketing, Promethean Power Systems, said, “By helping chill raw milk at the village collection center without the need for a diesel generator, Promethean’s Rapid Milk Chillers present a simple and cost-effective solution to similar problems that developing milk-producing nations face. BRAC, with its Aarong brand, is doing a commendable job of helping farmers augment their income by linking them to urban markets. We are pleased to help BRAC realize its mission to channel quality milk from rural to urban areas.”

Promethean Power’s innovative solutions have already attracted attention and is gaining in popularity across the subcontinent.

Read the article here.

 


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Bulk milk coolers: A cool way to chill for dairies and farmers

Garima Rakesh Mishra | The Indian Express
February 23, 2017 1:50 am

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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.

Read the full article.


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How Promethean Power Systems is revitalizing dairy farming industry

Sneha Jha | Economic Times CIO
February 01, 2017, 11:55 IST

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L: Jiten Ghelani, CEO, Promethean Power Systems R: Jofi Joseph, Director – Sales & Marketing, Promethean Power Systems.

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


Eventual sweet taste of success

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. 


Promethean Power Systems to expand into Bangladesh and Sri Lanka

Satyanarayan Iyer (The Times of India)
Jan 11, 2017, 09.29 PM IST

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.

 


Two Men from the US Are Helping Dairy Farmers in Rural India Keep Milk Chilled without Electricity

Two Men from the US Are Helping Dairy Farmers in Rural India Keep Milk Chilled without Electricity

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.

Click here to read original article!


An MIT Lesson in Failure Helps Deliver Fresh Milk to Millions in India

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.

Click here to read the full article.


Promethean Founder Returns From India With Lessons For Entrepreneurs

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.

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The Challenge of Hardware Startups

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.

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Promethean Power Systems and Fonterra Partner to Boost Milk Quality in Sri Lanka

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.”

View original article PDF, 392 kb


The rot stops here

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

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.

Click here to view original article


Transforming the way milk is stored

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.

Click here to read the full article.


MIT Spinout’s Milk Chillers Reduce Spoilage and Boost Yields in Villages

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

Click here to read full article!


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A Better Way to Keep Milk Fresh

Richard Martin | MIT Technology Review
July 21, 2015

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Sometime this week a large milk refrigerator will arrive in Dhaka, the capital of Bangladesh. Since Bangladesh produces nearly four million tons of milk per year, that hardly seems remarkable; but this is a special kind of refrigerator.

Made by Promethean Power Systems, a company based in Pune, India, and Boston, the system keeps milk chilled with a thermal battery that stores energy and releases it, as cooling power, over the course of a day. Like India, Bangladesh has an outdated power grid that supplies electricity sporadically—often as little as a few hours per day. Rural dairy farmers on the subcontinent bring their milk to village collection centers that typically rely on diesel generators, a costly, dirty way of providing electricity.

Two Americans, Sam White and Sorin Grama, founded Promethean Power in 2007 to address a simple but widespread and pressing problem: how to keep milk cold without burning diesel fuel. They’ve been selling refrigerators in India for two years; this week marks their first export to neighboring Bangladesh.

“We’ve been at this for eight years,” says White, and “we’ve gone through all sorts of different technologies, attempts, and failures to figure out a solution.”

At first, he says, they were determined to craft a technology that relied on solar power—a noble attempt that ultimately failed because solar power, like grid power in India and Bangladesh, is by its nature intermittent, and refrigerators need constant power. Eventually they settled on a thermal energy storage system that uses a phase-change material to store energy in the form of ice. When the grid is operating, a portion of the material freezes, and the battery circulates that thermal energy into a heat exchanger to keep milk chilled over the course of the day. The thermal battery can store up to 28 kilowatt-hours of energy.

Read the full story here


Thermal Power Storage Saves Indian Dairy Farmers From an Unpredictable Grid

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.

Click here to read original article!


Thermal Energy Storage in India

Increased orders from Indian dairies validate commercial necessity for refrigeration purposes

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.

Media Contact
Name: Sam White
Company: Promethean Power Systems
Phone: +1 (617) 512 8811
Email: sam@promethean-power.com


Keeps Milk Cold When the Power Cuts Out

In rural Indian dairy villages, access to electricity is intermittent. Most people have to boil milk before they drink it, and dairy farmers face the perpetual risk of losing large batches of their product. Now Promethean Power’s new thermal battery tech offers a fascinating solution.

As Doc North explains in the video, milk can be chilled to maintain its quality without electricity, by using simple principles of heat exchange.
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How technology can prevent food waste

Up to 40% of food produced in the developing world is wasted before it reaches the market, according to figures from the UN’s Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO). With the number of middle-class consumers predicted to rise to three billion by 2030, and the majority of that growth in developing countries, tackling this problem is no small feat – particularly as rising affluence in urban areas is likely to trigger a higher demand for richer diets and more complex food supply chains.

Lack of access to cold chain technology and reliable energy sources are the major reasons for crops perishing after harvest, research by Nottingham University shows (pdf). The cost of delivering energy to remote, rural regions means that, even when storage facilities are built, they may nevertheless stand empty. Poor transport infrastructure causes further losses, and a lack of education on post-harvest practices often results in poor quality control and food being damaged during handling.

Click here to read original article!