India is the world’s largest producer of milk, with many relying on milk as a primary source of income. Farmers deliver milk at village dairy collection centres, who in turn sell the milk or use it to make dairy products.
But without access to a reliable power supply, keeping milk fresh for a long duration is very difficult. According to the Indian government’s Economic Survey 2015-16, the dairy industry loses a significant proportion of milk every year to an underdeveloped refrigeration chain. This also means that the quality of milk is often compromised. This is arguably the most concerning factor for Indian dairy processors and farmers at the collection level.
Promethean Power Systems, a Pune-based company that has pioneered a diesel-free, thermal-energy-storage-based refrigeration solution, believes that the challenges in the dairy supply chain can be addressed by implementing innovative refrigeration technology to reduce spoilage and improve milk quality.
Founded in the US in 2007, Promethean Power Systems launched a manufacturing and testing facility in India in 2013 to develop a new thermal battery which led to the creation of a Rapid Milk Chiller (RMC), which is now being deployed in the agricultural areas of Maharashtra, West Bengal and Tamil Nadu. The RMC uses a combination of software and reconfigurable hardware, with an aim to eliminate much of the waste, drive up nutritional standards and improve the livelihoods of millions of rural dairy farmers.
Till date, the company has sold over 500 milk chilling units to make village-level milk chilling economically and environmentally viable for its dairy partners in India. And in turn, has also helped 25,000 dairy farmers enjoy better prices for their milk and curb losses arising from spoilage.
Promethean now also plans to take its chillers, which are entirely made in India, to other countries in South Asia as well as new markets in east Africa.Anticipating an increase in new orders, Promethean has ramped up local manufacturing in Pune to double its current capacity, which now stands at 300 units per year.