A B.C.-developed technology that provides a liquid fuel alternative with lower carbon emissions is being exported to hungry markets around the world, including India, a country aggressively seeking solutions to tackle its growing pollution problem.
Vancouver-based BioCube Corp. manufacturers and sells a compact biodiesel processor within a specially modified sea container. The biodiesel processor operates on or off-grid and produces biodiesel within hours of arrival. BioCube makes biodiesel processing viable for communities and commercial enterprises seeking sustainable energy. The goal is to create more efficient and cleaner fuels that can be used in any vehicle.
“We’ve developed a technology we think reflects the nature of the industry in a much more efficient way,” BioCube CEO David Tait said during a presentation at GLOBE 2016 in Vancouver.
“Instead of being long-term, large scale and centralized… we’ve gone with small distributed and decentralized technologies,” added Tait. “These are technologies that can put power in communities’ hands…. The people who need and use the fuel at the point of production.”
BioCube is one of growing number of clean technologies being adopted in India as it looks to lower its carbon footprint. India is the world’s second most populous country with 1.2 billion people. That growing population, alongside rapid economic growth powered by fossil fuels, has led to serious air and water pollution.
India investing billions to clean up it act
Today, pollution threatens to stall economic growth in India. According to the World Bank, environmental degradation costs India about $80 billion annually, or 5.7 per cent of its national GDP.
“Environmental sustainability could become the next major challenge as India surges along its projected growth trajectory,” the World Bank states.
The Indian government is taking action, and spending billions to try to curb its emissions. Clean energy investments were expected to surpass $10 billion in 2015, according to Bloomberg.
“Things in India are positive,” Tait said at the GLOBE 2016 panel titled, Unlocking India’s Green Potential. “It’s encouraging to see India realize its flaws, do things they can do, and empower private enterprise to run forward with these projects.”
Amrik Virk, B.C.’s Minister of Technology, Innovation and Citizens’ Services, says India is actively seeking partnerships with alternative energy and renewable companies in Canada.
“I believe our clean tech sector has a real opportunity to fill that niche and not as a market or a consumer, but as a partner … to help make the air cleaner, the water cleaner and the infrastructure better,” Virk said.
Doing business in India – lessons learned
Rajesh Sharma, CEO and managing director at Tata Steel Minerals Canada, a subsidiary of India-based Tata Group, said there is “a lot of respect” in India for Canadian businesses. That said, Sharma believes some Canadians companies could work harder at developing partnerships in India.
“There is a need to market better and leverage the strengths we have here, better,” said Sharma, while acknowledging it can be both complicated and time consuming to do business in India.
Once partnerships are developed, the opportunities are huge, Sharma added.
“Whatever technologies are available here, we should be able to scale them,” he said, adding that prices must be competitive.
BioCube’s David Tait said doing business in India can be frustrating at first, and requires experience and patience because of the different culture and mindset.
“You have to figure out the right questions to ask,” Tait said. “The right question isn’t if, but when – then you can start to get somewhere. The way we do things here [in Canada] is diametrically different.”
Doing business in India requires building both personal and business relationships over time, Tait said.
“They want to understand that you are going to be there not just this week or next week, but next year and the year after. You have to pay your dues,” Tait told the audience.
The key to successful business development in India is finding the right partner and sticking with them, added Sharma.
“If you have the right partner, then things can become much easier,” Sharma said. “There are very strong, very reliable organizations with great values in India. If you collaborate them you can share the cake.”