Solution overview

Our Solution

Uttarakashi hill region community economic development plan


Collaborating with nature and communities,partnering with technologies

Pitch us on your solution

We are committed to solve the  triple and interrelated problems of (a)forest fires due to combustion of the pine needles in the upper Himalayan regions , (b) lack of access to affordable energy services and therefore economic opportunities for the hill communities, and (c)  which  leads to the urban migration form the affected hill regions.

Our solution adopts an integrated  energy services strategy by addressing the problem holistically . We intend to system integrate technologies that have been interdependently tested and proven to work in the Indian subcontinent conditions 

As we aim to deliver our solution via a community owned Producer Company in shared value approach and as such this model can be replicated across the upper Himalayan regional states of India, Nepal, Bhutan.

Film your elevator pitch

What is the problem you are solving?

The overarching problem we are aiming to solve is to improve the economic development potential of the Uttarakashi Himalayan  region , in the North Indian state of Uttrakhand and also positively influence the reduction in urban migration from the region 

Out of the total forest area in the State, 16.36% (399329 Hectare) is covered by Chir Pine forests.The Pine needles from the trees are root cause of the rampant forest fires that not only affect the environment,fauna and flora but also pose a huge  ecological and ecosystem degradation . Even after accounting for 40% of pine needles for traditional uses, inaccessible areas for collection etc it is estimated that ~150 MW  of power can be  generated annually from the pine needles alone. But,barely 0.25% of this potential has been realized

The State is also one of the largest producers of exotic horticulture produce like Apples, Plums, Apricots . The produces an estimated 670,000 MT of Fruits in an Area of 179000 hectares; and ~990,000 MT of organic vegetables in an area of 100,000 Hectares. Lack of Farm gate level cold storage to prevent post harvest losses and remunerative market linkages also affects the farming community income levels.

Who are you serving?

For the first pilot fray of our integrated energy services based economic development plan,we are serving a hill community in the Uttarakashi region of the Northern India state of Uttarakhand. Specifically the village clusters Juguldi, Kulsi and Singot with around 85 Households. 

These villages have been aggregated to a Community Owned Producer Company who will be the beneficiary of our technologies Intervention. We are expecting 80-90% membership in the producer company and with our intervention we estimate each household can make an upward of INR15000/Month(~215US$) not only from pine needle collection but also share of revenue proportional to their equity from the producer company operations and  the resultant multiple revenue streams .

What is your solution?

Our solution is a system integration of multiple technologies that have been piloted/validated independently to work in these geographies and conditions. We aim to wrap these technologies in a sustainable business model , with the technology component design made more robust , learning from the past project experiences. In a nut shell our solution shall comprise 

A uniquely designed dual stage gassification system with an integrtaed baghouse filtration system for  the pine needles that eliminates the problem of tar (that was found to be the biggest bad actor on the power engines performance in previous cases). This will be coupled to a 100 KW Engine to generate the electricity that in turn would power the community economic activity.

A waste heat recovery system that taps into the engine, and gassifier jacket heat to run a vapor adsorption chiller which would be used to run a cold storage for the perishable horticulture produce. 

A small bio-gas digestor that shall use the livestock manure , designed to generate enough bio-gas to meet the cooking needs of the community and the surplus fed to the gassifier above

And finally a unique control system that would not only control, remotely monitor and manage all these disparate systems but also generate actionable advisories to the beneficiary farmer community members with regards the price trends, weather updates, grid down time etc. We aim to deploy AI/Machine Learning algorithm to achieve these objectives

Select only the most relevant.

  • Support communities in designing and determining solutions around critical services
  • Create or advance equitable and inclusive economic growth

Where is your solution team headquartered?

Vadodra, Gujarat, India

Our solution's stage of development:

More about your solution

Select one of the below:

New application of an existing technology

Describe what makes your solution innovative.

We have created an innovative business model that encompasses  a more robust energy system and an energy services platform  offering , by learning from past project pilot/on field  performance  and the technical challenges faced by the individual system components. Especially the classification, tar filtration system design has been optimized . Via the waste heat recovery vapor adsorption chiller system we hope to improve the overall system efficiency significantly.Lastly our innovative remote monitoring and control  system which complemented by a mobile app to give out farm related advisories to the farming community adds another innovative dimension to our offering

Describe the core technology that your solution utilizes.

The core hardware is an application engineering of existing technologies with appropriate design refinements.  The monitoring, control and management platform is our innovative technology application that uses predictive algorithms to give our actionable advisories to plant operators as well as farming communities beneficiaries

Our unique Marketing Analytics App uses machine learning , predictive algorithms  to give actionable advisories to farmers on farm produce future price trends to enable them go from practicing subsistence farming to knowledge and market driven farming

Please select the technologies currently used in your solution:

  • Machine Learning
  • Internet of Things
  • Indigenous Knowledge
  • Behavioral Design

Why do you expect your solution to address the problem?

Currently the farmers in the hill community do not get fair share of the consumer spend/wallet for the good quality horticulture produce that they produce in the farms due to lack of pricing information, trends from nearby  marketplaces(called mandis in India). Using our analytics tools in conjunction with the farm gate level cold storage would ensure that they realize better returns.

Select the key characteristics of the population your solution serves.

  • Rural Residents
  • Low-Income

In which countries do you currently operate?

  • India

In which countries will you be operating within the next year?

  • Bhutan
  • India
  • Nepal

How many people are you currently serving with your solution? How many will you be serving in one year? How about in five years?

Currently our Coolcrop Farm Gate level cold storage have been deployed across 7 regions within India, practically covering all major agro climatic zones. Nearly 600-800 farmers are already benefiting from our interventions

Pine needle based energy systems , mostly small scale in the 10-25 KW Range have been deployed in 5-7 locations in the target state of Uttrakhand. These have been deployed by an NGO and may have directly benefited around  70-100 men/women mostly earning their livelihood by collecting pine needles

But the our integrated energy services approach we aim to touch at least 200 persons per each village cluster in the next 1 year, and since this has immense scalabilty potential in 5 years we hope that this number will exponentially rise to a potential of tend of thousand of direct and indirect beneficiaries. 

Building “farming cooperatives" that shall  transform themselves into thriving micro-entrepreneurship clusters in 3-5 years time

What are your goals within the next year and within the next five years?

Year 1 : Pilot 1x125 KW Integrtaed Solution package in one village cluster ; beginning with deploying 2-3 Farm gate level cold storages , which will later be connected to the 125 KW Gassifier system

Year 2 : Expand it 2x125 KW installation for a block size of 250 KW in the same cluster

Year 5 : Create an installed base of 10 x250 KW  systems targeting atleast 20-30 village clusters. 

What are the barriers that currently exist for you to accomplish your goals for the next year and for the next five years?

Developing an ecosystem of micro entrepreneurs

System integration Challenges mainly for the energy system

Business Model validation for the Cooling as a service business model

How are you planning to overcome these barriers?

We intend  piloting some of the component technologies like cold room to establish an operating rhythm and build a prelim business case by mapping the horticulture produce of the region

About your team

Select an option below:


How many people work on your solution team?

Full time 4

Part-time 5-6 who are part of the project execution teams

For how many years have you been working on your solution?

2 years

Why are you and your team best-placed to deliver this solution?

Our team is a unique blend of talent from Academic, Research, Energy Business Domain expertise, Renewable Energy,  Application Engineering and Post Harvest Loss Technologies Design and Implementation. Our core team comprises

Niraj Marathe: MS from TU Berlin, Germany. 5 years’ experience in handling renewable energy projects in India and Europe.

Dr. Kendall Nowocin: PhD in Electrical Engineering from MIT, US. Has 3 years of experience in power grid and solar micro-grid design in US and India.

Dr. George Chen: PhD in Computer Science from MIT. Works as a faculty for Carnegie Mellon University, US. Develops systems for predictive analytics through machine learning.

Srinivas K Marella : BE Mechanical Engineering , Green Finance Specialist ,Berlin ; Six Sigma Green Belt .Ex GE Energy USA & Tata Solar India executive, with experience in BD, Application Engineering, Marketing Strategy and Sales

With what organizations are you currently partnering, if any? How are you working with them?

PWC: Price Water House Coopers


Expo Live, Dubai

Samunnati Value Chain Finance


Your business model & funding

What is your business model?

We deliver our solutions in shared value  pay as you go odel for cold  room solutions, we aim to leverage that approach for the larger energy services protfolio

What is your path to financial sustainability?

Revenue Streams for cold room solutions

Current : Grants from Dubai Expo Live, Villgro

Paid Pilots via PWC, Kheyti

Future revenue streams

Power Purchase Agreement Sales

Share of produce from the producer company

Affiliate revenue from the technology providers of the portfolio companies

Partnership potential

Why are you applying to Solve?

To explore partnering with several like minded peer companies, peers, past cohort especially in the fields of IOT , AI and Machine Learning domains so that we can learn from their experience and leverage their successful use cases as we develop and refine our solution further

What types of connections and partnerships would be most catalytic for your solution?

  • Technology
  • Funding and revenue model
  • Legal
  • Monitoring and evaluation

If you would like to apply for the AI Innovations Prize, describe how you and your team will utilize the prize to advance your solution. If you are not already using AI in your solution, explain why it is necessary for your solution to be successful and how you plan to incorporate it.

Yes. Shall be explained in detail in the next revision

Solution Team

  • Mr Srinivas Kumar Marella COO, Head Market Development Strategy & Partnerships, Coolcrop Technologies Pvt Ltd
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