Priscilla King Gray Public Service Center

Carbon credits to farmers with biochar produced from TLUD stoves

Servals Group and Janaseva Foundation, Nasik district, Maharashtra, India


About Servals : Servals Automation Private Limited (Servals) is a social enterprise with a mission “To bring appropriate technology to the ‘bottom of pyramid’ to enhance the quality of their life”. Aiming to “usher in an age of energy independence to the poor”, Servals focuses on providing clean, green, affordable and sustainable energy for cooking and lighting purposes. Servals seeks to achieve its mission with a strong focus on the following environmental practices at the grass-roots level - Conservation of Fossil-Fuels, Reduction of Carbon Emission, Reduction of Indoor Air Pollution, Reduction of De-Forestation. Their products are designed with a view to (a) conserve fossil fuels (energy efficient kerosene burners and stoves) (b) use truly renewable energy sources (Stoves and Lamps that run on straight vegetable oil) (c) use of under-tapped sources of energy (TLUD gasifier wood stoves)

Servals seeks to work towards its mission with a business model that is based on social entrepreneurship. In the effort to harness the productive power of the rural poor, Servals partners with NGOs and SHGs for production and marketing. The company also hopes to create a stream of economic activity around its new energy inventions at the grassroot level (esp TLUD wood stoves and Plant oil stoves) so that the inventions are self sustaining, self reliant and provide energy independence to the rural poor.

Servals product Portfolio : The products of Servals represent a complete basket of products suited for every fuel use – Kerosene (Burners and Stoves), Biomass (TLUD Gasifier Wood Stove and Plant Oil/Straight Vegetable Oil (Plant Oil Stove and Lamp).

With a product range that has been identified by Infodev (a special program of the World Bank) as a “cleantech innovator success story”, being identified as a Technology Pioneer Candidate 2011 by the World Economic Forum and having won one of India’s most prestigious awards in the Clean Energy Category and consequently being recognized as one of India’s top 10 most investment worthy organizations in the social enterprise space, Servals is gearing up to move up the sustainable and renewable energy chain through its newer energy inventions – particularly the TLUD gasifier wood stove and the plant oil stoves and lamps.

About Janaseva :Janaseva Foundation was established in 1995 by a group of agricultural scientists and medical professionals and registered in Silvasa in the Union Territory of Dadra and Nagar Haveli. The primary objective of this voluntary organization is to improve the social and economic conditions ofthe tribals and other disadvantaged sections of the society through transfer of appropriate technology. The foundation has focused its efforts inthe Sahyadri ranges inDadra Nagar Haveli, Maharashtra and Gujarat. Activities of the foundation so far have included transfer of a package of practices for integrated nutrient management, called Savant’s Integrated Rice Agrotechnology (SIRA), to the resource-poor tribal farmers, introduction and trials of an improved Vietnamese rice husk stove, Lo Trau, as well as organization of SHGsof tribal women for their socio-economical development. For example, through funding from NABARD (1998 to 2001), the foundation extended SIRA to 1000 farmers in Thane, Dhule and Nandurbar districts and organized 50 SHGs of 775 women. Janakalyan Samiti, Pune, awarded Shri Guruji Puraskar to Janaseva Foundation in the year 2006, in recognition of its efforts for innovative agricultural development in tribal areas.Currently, Janaseva Foundation is engaged in a pilot study to introduce the TLUD stoves in a tribal village in Nasik district in Maharashtra. This study will produce quantitative information on wood savings and biochar production in the average tribal family.

The Challenge

Top lit up draft (TLUD) stoves are an excellent alternative to traditional stoves used for household cooking in developing countries worldwide, because of their high fuel use efficiency, low emissions and production of charcoal (biochar) as a byproduct of combustion. Charcoal produced by TLUD stoves is a versatile material. It can be used as a starter material for the household cooking stoves. It can be sold at the local market for INR 7-10, which is used by local iron smiths and various other industries such as incense stick making. Therefore, use of biochar as a soil amendment and a long term carbon sequestration method requires additional financial incentives.

Carbon credits can provide such a system and the local nongovernmental organizations and self help groups can provide the structure for implementing this system. However, research is needed to develop such a system and we would welcome help from students in developing different components of this system, including characterization of biochar produced according to the standards developed by International Biochar Initiative and economic and policy research. Janaseva Foundation and Servals Group can provide the biochar samples and the field sites necessary for the data gathering.

Some of the questions that need to be answered through research are:

Qualifications, Preferences, and Assets

For the biochar analysis, students of chemistry would be an appropriate match, while for the carbon credits market study, students from business or environmental management or policy would be more appropriate.

Time Constraints

This is a general need that we would welcome help at any time.


Sujatha Srinivasan
Director, Exports and Communication


Deoyani Sarkhot
Project Coordinator, Janaseva Foundation

PKG Center Support

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