“Our aim is to install 1 million biogas plants across India by 2030”

Piyush Sohani, Managing Director, Sistema.bio India shares the company’s business model, financial performance, its initiatives and upcoming plans in India, and outlook

Sistema.bio India was recently in the spotlight for setting up the world’s largest manufacturing facility for biogas plant production in Pune. The facility spans an impressive 1,30,000 square feet. 
In an exclusive interview, Piyush Sohani, Managing Director, Sistema.bio India shares the company’s business model, financial performance, its initiatives and upcoming plans in India, and outlook.

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Kindly tell us about Sistema.bio and its mission in India?
Sistema.bio is a social enterprise that provides access to innovative biodigester technology, training and financing to address the challenges of poverty, food security and climate change. We manufacture and distribute high quality, affordable biodigesters that enable farmers to convert waste into renewable energy and organic fertilizers. We work with small-holder farmers all over the world to reduce carbon footprint, make them more productive and more efficient and create a healthier sustainable environment on their farms.
In India, we aim to address the challenges faced by smallholder farmers by offering them access to clean, renewable energy sources. Our focus is on the development, production, and distribution of modern innovative biogas technology that converts organic waste into biogas and high-quality organic fertilizer.
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Your company just launched the world’s largest manufacturing facility for biogas plants in Pune. Capex was spent and long-term revenue expectations? How do you plan to scale up the capacity?
We have made a significant investment of Rs 150 million in our new manufacturing facility, a strategic move that positions us to address the growing demands of India, Asian countries, and African nations.
The biogas industry is witnessing rapid growth, driven by the surge in conventional fuel prices and the global climate change movement, which has led to a greater adoption of renewable energy sources. During the financial year 2022-23, our revenue reached an impressive Rs 84 crore, and we anticipate a remarkable 50% growth in the current financial year. We are optimistic about maintaining this growth rate over the next five years. The establishment of our new factory marks a significant milestone for us, enabling us to enhance our production capacity to 100,000 units per year.
Looking ahead, our focus is on revolutionizing our operations through automation, a transformative step that will greatly increase our production capacity. This will allow us to expand our reach and make a meaningful impact on the lives of hundreds of thousands of farmers across the country.
“Our revenue reached an impressive Rs 84 crore in FY 2022-23 and we anticipate a remarkable 50% growth in the current fiscal year.”
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Key challenges while implementing biogas technology in India? How have you addressed them?
 One of the primary challenges is creating awareness and encouraging farmers to adopt biogas technology. This involves addressing misconceptions, demonstrating the benefits, and showcasing successful case studies.
We often engage in community outreach, awareness campaigns, and farmer training programs to educate and inspire adoption of our modern innovative biogas technology. Access to financing is crucial for smallholder farmers to invest in biogas systems. Many of them face financial constraints or have limited access to credit.
To overcome these challenges, we partner with numerous foundations, NGOs, co-operative and private dairy, and rural development organizations to make our technology more affordable and accessible.
Providing technical support and maintenance services is essential for the successful operation of biogas systems. Challenges may arise when farmers lack technical knowledge or face difficulties in troubleshooting issues. We offer comprehensive training programs to farmers, empowering them with the necessary skills and knowledge to operate and maintain the systems effectively.
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How does Sistema.bio ensure the affordability and accessibility of its biogas systems for smallholder farmers in India?
In India, we have established strong partnerships with a diverse range of organizations, including foundations, NGOs, co-operatives, private dairy companies, and rural development organizations.
Through these collaborations, we are able to reach and impact hundreds of thousands of farmers every year. Our technology has also been approved and recognized by the Government of India’s Ministry of New and Renewable Energy. This significant recognition propels us closer to our goal of making modern and sustainable technology accessible and affordable to farmers across the country. With government support, we can now offer our cutting-edge solutions at subsidized rates, ensuring that more farmers can harness the benefits of our advanced technology.
One of the key aspects of our approach is our innovative Carbon financing model. This unique system ensures that farmers can access and benefit from modern biogas technology at highly affordable rates. By leveraging carbon financing, we are able to offer cost-effective solutions that empower farmers to adopt sustainable practices and improve their livelihoods.
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Can you share some of the future plans or innovations that Sistema.bio has for its operations in India?
With our newly established factory, we now have the capacity to positively impact 600,000 lives annually, transforming their lifestyles with clean cooking and chemical-free farming practices. However, our vision for the future extends even further. Our aim is to install 1 million biogas plants across India by 2030, and reduce 1% global greenhouse gas emissions. We firmly believe in the power of continuous innovation to enhance our technology and product quality. That’s why we have established an in-house R&D and Manufacturing Improvement Team (MIT) department at our factory. This dedicated team is focused on constantly improving the quality and efficiency of our products. Through ongoing research and development, we strive to provide farmers with the most advanced and effective biogas solutions and appliances, promoting sustainability and environmental stewardship.
Sistema.bio was founded in 2010 in Central Mexico after five years of R&D on their technology and business model. 
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How does Sistema.bio measure and evaluate the social and environmental impact of its biogas systems in India?
We measure and evaluate our impact based on the number of biogas plants we install. We collect the GPS location of each biodigester that we install. The data from each farm is transferred to the central sales force application, in which we can track user baseline and benefit information through our monitoring surveys. We also use 3rd party independent monitoring surveys at the end of each year for our gold standard certified carbon program. So far, we have installed over 50,000 biodigesters in India impacting 270,060 people and mitigating 215,000 tons of CO2 from the environment.
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How do you see the future of biogas technology and sustainable agriculture unfolding in India? What role will Sistema.bio play in supporting it?
 The immense potential of biogas technology and sustainable agriculture in India is undeniable. With approximately 70 million farmers involved in livestock management and dairying, there is a significant opportunity for them to benefit from the adoption of biogas technology. At Sistema.bio, we are prepared to lead this transformative change. With our expertise, innovative solutions, and commitment to affordability, we are poised to drive the adoption of biogas technology among smallholder farmers across the country.
Our focus is on providing accessible and tailored biogas systems that meet the unique needs of rural communities. Also, the collaboration will be pivotal in our approach as we actively seek partnerships with government agencies, NGOs, financial institutions, and other stakeholders. Together, we can promote sustainable agriculture and biogas technology, creating a more sustainable future for India.

*This interview was first published in the July 2023 edition of the BioVoice eMagazine.