Somerset, UK based transportable anaerobic digestion specialist, QUBE Renewables, is working on a project in India with Haryana University to install fifty ‘QUBES’ in the paddy fields of the Punjab in a bid to tackle Delhi’s air quality crisis.
The company explained that its QUBE is a self-assembled kit that converts biodegradable wastes into energy to provide heat, power and sanitation. Its flexible, fabric design can be used virtually anywhere in a warm climate and with any biodegradable waste.
Each year India’s rice farmers burn the stubble of their harvested crops, contributing to a seasonal smog that damages the health of those in and around the capital. By harnessing QUBE’s technology, farmers will now be able to turn one hundred and fifty tonnes of stubble into 50,000 cubic metres of biogas, the equivalent of 584,000 hours of cooking on a 1.5 kW biogas stove.
Hearing of QUBE Renewables’ deployment in the Philippines, Haryana Agricultural University partnered with the company to make better use of the Punjab’s problematic crop stubble.
According to the manufacturer, a QUBE can be built and ready for operations in under two weeks, turning waste rice straw (the crop stubble) into fuel through a process of anaerobic digestion for clean cooking, power generation and even running vehicles.
QUBE also creates a fertiliser enabling waste rice straw to be used to grow the next crop. Crop burning in the region is estimated to make a 40% contribution to Delhi’s hazardous pollution levels. It is estimated that one hundred and fifty tonnes of rotting rice straw releases approximately sixteen tonnes of methane, it is anticipated that QUBE will provide a GHG CO2 equivalent saving of four hundred and thirteen tonnes per batch processed.
The instillation of QUBEs in the Punjab is a grant free, commercial venture with Haryana Agricultural University. QUBE Renewables manufactures and distributes ready to assemble flat pack energy from waste kits that are used by retailers and farmers. The kits, originally designed in partnership with the Ministry of Defence (MOD) to turn soldier’s faeces into something more useful, come in a range of sizes and capabilities, dependant on the volume and nature of the biodegradable material (e.g. its Lagoon QUBE can float on dirty water and capture latent gas).
For this particular project the manufacture of the QUBEs will occur in both the UK and India, with the British company providing the blueprint to create components that do not require specialist construction in the UK, to be made by the host country. This solution keeps both costs and carbon emissions down, enabling more QUBE’s to be deployed and more of Delhi’s air to remain clean.
Joanna Clayton co-founder of QUBE Renewables
“We’re very proud to be involved in helping tackle literally one of the most burning issues in India. QUBE Renewables can play an important role in improving Delhi’s air quality, whilst also helping to solve a related issue that gets talked about far less. Cooking with solid fuels is one of the five biggest killers in developing countries, by using the cooking fuel that QUBE can produce, we can help improve people in the region’s health, productivity and quality of life.”
Professor K P Singh – Vice Chancellor of CCS Haryana Agricultural University
"Haryana Agricultural University is delighted to be working with QUBE Renewables on the installation of dry digesters for rice straw processing. Burning rice straw is a major environmental problem, and we look forward to rolling out this innovative low-cost solution to help mitigate rice stubble burning in the future, and make useful biogas for cooking and power production in rural areas."