An American Sociologist William Fielding Ogburn says that social change occurs in culture due to various processes like – Invention, accumulation, diffusion and adjustment. When a thing which is already exists in a culture comes to front and appear before the masses, is invention in social change.
Retirement at 60 means a relaxed life for most people. Not so for 70-year-old P Mukundan, managing director of Servals Automation Pvt Ltd. He did retire from his busy business life at 60 but chose to become a social entrepreneur after that.
He got into social entrepreneurship after his retirement was meeting Paul Basil of Villgro. Together they founded Rural Innovation Network, which is Villgro now.
Servals Automation was presented with an award for its Business Model. The award was given by L-Ramp as part of their excellence awards for 2007. These Excellence Awards were presented by Dr. Abdul Kalam at a function in IIT, Chennai. (Source: Servals)
He started a social enterprise ‘Servals Automation Pvt Ltd (Servals) with a capital of merely Rs 3 lakh. It’s a ‘for-profit’ but that touches the lives of those who live in rural areas all over the world.
With his vision set on catalyzing the cooking energy trajectory towards energy independence, he is guiding the innovations towards pioneering an energy creation and procurement model for rural communities.
In 2002, Mukundan started manufacturing Venus kerosene burners that reduce fuel usage by 30 per cent. From 2,000 burners in the first month, today Servals sells 120,000 such burners every month.
Mr. P. Mukundan (Image credit: Servals)
He won an award in the ‘Most Fuel Efficient Stove’ category from the PASASA (Paraffin Safety Association of South Africa) in 2005, promoted by leading global petroleum companies such as Shell and British Petroleum.
He plans towards scaling up on the social entrepreneurship model despite recognizing that scaling up with the time tested commercial models will be easier. He has demonstrated commitment towards the other big part of Servals’ vision – catalyzing economic activity at the grassroots. He has been nominated to the CII’s Special Publication of 108 successful entrepreneurs in Tamil Nadu.
Servals was also identified by Cornell University, US, as a case study in their Sustainable Global Enterprise Project. It was also one of the eight companies identified by InfoDev (a World Bank programme) as leading the technological innovation for managing climate change.
Servals has been designed as a Social Enterprise and is engaged in the manufacture of socially relevant products, focused primarily on providing clean, green, affordable and indeed sustainable energy for cooking and lighting purposes.
The products of Servals include Energy Efficient Kerosene Burners and Kerosene Stoves. They have also Plant Oil Stoves, Hybrid Kerosene Stoves using straight vegetable oil, TLUD Gasifier stoves and Plant Oil Lamps. Some of the products are described below:
TLUD Gasifier Stoves
TLUD stands for Top Lit up Draft. This is different from most of the ordinary cook stoves which are Bottom Lit up Draft. There is a lot of interest in TLUD technology around the world since this saves around 75 % fuel material compared to a traditional 3 stone fire wood stove.
Images source: Servals
It’s a higher order of fuel efficiency, user friendliness, safety and newer user application. It recognized as a ‘Carbon Neutral’ initiative. In fact would be ‘Carbon Negative’ when the charcoal is dumped back into the soil.
Another advantage of TLUD technology is that it can accept a lot of waste materials as fuel like twigs, coconut shells, certain husks, dry grass, etc. Some of these fuels are also available at zero cost in specific instances.
The present design used by Servals has been given by Dr. Paul S Anderson of US, with initial financial support for the Chennai project by the Rotary Club of Bloomington-Normal Sunset (Rotary District 6490 – East Central Illinois). TLUD Gasifier Stove technology holds tremendous potential in relation to greener environment and low carbon initiatives.
Hybrid Plant Oil Stove
Kero-Assisted Plant Oil Stove (Hybrid): Twin tank version ready. Worked with Rockerfeller Foundation (Innocentive) for design fine-tuning.
The Hybrid stoves were recently tested in Kenya and found to be performing well.
Varsha Rain Guns
Redesigned by IIT, Chennai under the Ru-Tag Scheme of the Government of India.
Currently these guns are used in irrigation. Alternative applications indust abatement being piloted.
SERVALS Plant Oil Stove and Lamps
Enables the use of locally available non-edible plant oil instead of Kerosene
Presently, they have investments from ERM (Environmental Resources Management) Foundation based in the United Kingdom as they invest in low carbon initiatives. Also, International Finance Corporation, a member of the World Bank Group’s Grass Roots Business Fund, invested as the product has a positive impact on the globe itself.
Servals addresses the global social problem of energy conservation by encouraging the usage of alternate and renewable energy sources, with a focus on ushering in Rural Economic Independence especially for people below poverty line in developing countries.
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