Only 32% of the 230 million metric tons of biomass produced in India each year is used to produce the nation’s main energy. The majority of the biomass produced is either burned or discarded causing numerous environmental issues.
All of this is mostly brought on by the inefficiencies in the supply chain, which results in wastage and pollution. Along with the mismanagement in the supply chain, there are also other issues such as fragmented rural sources, high costs of logistics and storage, seasonality, and inability of rural suppliers to have direct access to industrial buyers.
Addressing these problems would have a significant societal impact in addition to increasing the use of non-fossil fuels for energy. Seeking such a solution Suhas Baxi and Ashwin Save came up with an idea that is now established as BiofuelCircle.
BiofuelCircle was set up in 2020 as an e-marketplace for Biomass and Biofuels. Focusing on building an organized and reliable supply chain, some things that the marketplace facilitates are ease of market access and of biomass and biofuel businesses, market-based price discovery, logistics, and digital financial settlements.
The Pune-based company has established a three-sided marketplace. The process is fairly simple: the company identifies farmers who may have an interest in selling their agricultural residue, the platform then connects them to the storage facilities nearby. The platform further connects these storage companies to factories or refineries to which the biomass will be sold. Additionally, these refineries are connected to industrial consumers who purchase the biomass.
Baxi, founder and CEO, told Entrackr, “In each one of these transactions, we have an ability to provide services towards quality assurance services towards logistics, and services towards working capital. So that is how the whole platform and service works.”
These processes are facilitated by the platforms three main services: My BiofuelCircle which is a community portal for the bioenergy community, BiofuelCircle Marketplace which is a Digital platform for buying and selling biomass, biofuels, and biofertilizers, and BiofuelCircle Network which is a network of service providers for quality assurance and logistics services for biomass and biofuels.
Buyers and sellers of biomass and biofuels can subscribe to the BiofuelCircle marketplace through either prepaid or postpaid subscription plans which also provides access to value-added services.
Apart from this the platform also provides services through working capital and post-harvest equipment which is given to farmers on rent.
Having been part of the energy industry as practitioners of technology and digital intervention in conventional businesses, both Baxi and Save had a good understanding of the working and gaps in the market. The duo decided to start a model that would allow participation and incentivization performance to create a smooth supply chain.
The platform has expanded its services to a total of 10 circles in 4 states since its inception. It further plans to expand its services to 10 states. It currently has over 500 subscribers and facilitates about 10,000 MT month trades. It has raised $2 million till date and is backed by Spectrum Capital and Better Capital. The company had a revenue of Rs 2.5 crore last financial year and has seen three times the growth since then.