Co-creating sustainable solutions in challenging urban conditions in India

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By Zane Valujeva, July 11, 2019

Open Innovation Days in 4 Indian cities focuses on tackling the issues around solid waste, wastewater and de-pollution of water bodies.

Indian urban population is expected to grow from 410 million in 2014 to 814 million in 2050, thus currently presents various challenges for the cities of India. Quercus Group, along with Climate-KIC, identified specific challenges in 4 Indian cities, shortlisted the relevant technologies and organised site visits and co-creation workshops as part of the Open Innovation Days in the selected Indian Cities. Issues around solid waste, wastewater and de-pollution of water bodies were at the main focus.

Multiple innovative Nordic companies were invited to accompany us and share their expertise in assisting with improving the state of well-being within urban areas. We were joined by companies such as Aquagreen, Aquasolis, Mash Biotech, Novozymes and Swestep whose representatives spent a day in each city to visit sites on the Mithi River (Mumbai), St. Inez Creek (Panaji), Barapulla Nallah and Gazipur landfill (Delhi), Lal Pani sewage treatment plant (Shimla) to understand the core problems which are arising through multiple stakeholder involvement.

Further acting as curators, during engaging co-creation sessions, we also assisted the development of viable solutions for the identified complex challenges. Bringing together both the local stakeholders and the Nordic companies is a vital aspect of ensuring a successful long-term implementation of the solutions.

The emerging solutions were some of the most innovative and sustainable ones; such as converting large amounts of hyacinth that is infesting the Mithi river in Mumbai and the Yamuna in Delhi and transforming it into electricity or biochar by using a two-stage gasifier. Another one is the processing of sewage coming from the sewage treatment plants in Shimla, which is done through an application of sophisticated pyrolysis technologies, which as a result produces electricity. Finally, through deploying state of the art of Catalytic Depolymerization Pressureless Process and the use of enzymes and microbes to depollute water bodies, it was possible to convert municipal solid waste generated from the city of Delhi to biofuel and further into EN-590 diesel.

The co-created solutions will be implemented through pilot projects to improve liveability conditions amongst the locals.

The project was funded by Nordic Innovation with support of the 5 Nordic embassies in India.

For more information on the project, please contact Quercus Group Partner Neelabh Singh

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