Young Champions of the Earth Prize
Why in News?
- A 29-year-old Indian entrepreneur is among the seven winners of the prestigious “Young Champions of the Earth” 2020 prize given by the UN environment agency to global change-makers using innovative ideas and ambitious action to help solve some of the world’s most pressing environmental challenges.
- Vidyut Mohan, an engineer, is the co-founder of “Takachar”, a social enterprise enabling farmers to prevent open burning of their waste farm residues and earn extra income by converting them into value-added chemicals like activated carbon on-site.
- Takachar buys rice husks, straw and coconut shells from farmers and turns them into charcoal, saving the debris from the fires, which are also a driver of climate change.
- Since Takachar was launched in 2018, Mohan and its co-founder Kevin Kung have worked with about 4,500 farmers and processed 3,000 tonnes of crops.
- By deploying small-scale, low-cost portable biomass upgrading equipment, Takachar enables rural farmers to earn 40 per cent more by converting their crop residues into fuels, fertilisers and value-added chemicals like activated carbon (AC) on-site.
- By choosing activated carbon (AC) as the starting market, Takachar brings this value chain to the doorstep of farmers and hence reduces air pollution associated with crop residue burning, while ensuring a stable, renewable, pollution free and financially lucrative raw material supply for the AC industry vs. Traditional fossil based sources.
- This year’s Young Champions were selected by a global jury of experts following a competitive public nomination.
- Each will receive $10,000 in seed funding and tailored training to help scale up their ideas. The Young Champions of the Earth prize is awarded every year to seven entrepreneurs under the age of 30 with bold ideas for sustainable environmental change.