Tech Tuesday is an ongoing series profiling the Forum’s Technology Pioneers. The Tech Pioneers are companies that have been recognized by the Forum for groundbreaking and innovative approaches in tackling some of the world’s most wicked problems. Each week we will showcase one of the 2012 Tech Pioneers. You can learn more about the Technology Pioneer Programme on the Forum’s website.


First Energy Private’s revolutionary cooking stoves help save the environment while making life more affordable in rural villages. Finding fuel for cooking is a major problem in many rural villages in developing countries. The most common fuel in India is wood or kerosene. Wood is often hard to come by and in densely populated areas there is the danger of stripping the local countryside bare. Kerosene is expensive and often contributes to air pollution and respiratory problems.

First Energy Private Ltd’s solution is an inexpensive, highly efficient cooking stove, which burns biomass pellets, known as “oorja” that are made from the compressed residue of agricultural by-products and rely on a radically new biomass gasification technology developed and patented by the Indian Institute of Science in Bangalore. The pellet stoves make it possible for an Indian family to serve a meal for five for roughly one rupee per person.

(Left: CEO and MD Mahesh Yagnaraman speaking at the Annual Meeting of the New Champions 2011 in China)

When the demand for pellets began driving prices up, First Energy introduced technology to spur production locally. Not only are the stoves three times as efficient as conventional stoves, but they are also virtually smokeless. Estimates are that the pellets cut down carbon emissions and particulates in the air by up to 70%. Operating through some 3,000 village entrepreneurs and dealers, First Energy has sold stoves to some 485,000 households in five Indian states and contends that they have already saved around 32,000 tons of fuel. The goal is to reach one million households in the next three years and become a market leader in other developing countries, as well as a significant force in the fight to control carbon emissions.


First Energy Private Limited

Mahesh Yagnaraman, Managing Director and CEO

Location: Pune, India

Number of Employees: 55

Year Founded: 2009

First Energy Private Limited

B 101 -105 B Wing Signet Corner

S No 134, Baner Road, Pune 411057, Maharashtra , India

Telephone: + 91 20 6721 0500