Two Indians -- one from Kerala and the other from Bangalore -- are among the winners of the 2007 Ashden Awards for Sustainable Energy.
Saji Das from Biotech in Kerala was the first prize winner of the Food Security Award (30,000 pounds) for developing and installing biogas plants in Kerala that use food waste which is often left out in the streets to rot, to generate gas for cooking.
In the words of the judging panel: "The judges were highly impressed at Biotech's development of an innovative and exciting technology which, by turning food leftovers into biogas, converts a waste problem into clean, cheap power"
Harish Hande from SELCO, based in Bangalore won the Outstanding Achievement Award(15,000 pounds) awarded to a past winner whose work has accelerated since winning an award.
In the words of the judges, "the way in which this visionary individual has demonstrated beyond doubt that it is possible to run a renewable energy business which is both a striking commercial success, and which lifts people out of poverty, too."
The awards ceremony at the Royal Geographical Society in London was addressed by former US Vice President Al Gore.
"No-one can attend an event like the Ashden Awards and fail to be inspired. We must find a path from a present that still falls short of what's needed to a sustainable future. What impresses me most about these projects is they truly are becoming the change that's needed in the world. These awards have told us how to illuminate the path to a sustainable future together. I hope that we can make it quickly," Gore said.
Vidya Sagar from SKG Sangha in Karnataka won the second prize promoting food security. The award carries a grant of 10,000 pounds and is used for improving the lives of rural communities in Karnataka, by supplying them with both dung based biogas plants for cooking and a specially designed unit that turns the slurry from the biogas plant into high quality
Sarah Butler-Sloss, Executive Chair and chair of the judging panel said: "Our winners show how sustainable energy can improve health, education and livelihoods and at the same time reduce carbon emissions.
The Prince of Wales, Charles, who is also Patron of the Ashden Awards personally congratulated all the winners in a separate private ceremony.
The Ashden Awards for Sustainable Energy - now in its seventh year - exists to both highlight and reward exemplary and successful examples of sustainable energy use both in the UK and the developing world.
The Ashden Awards for Sustainable Energy were created in 2001 by the Ashden Trust. The 2006 Awards are funded by nine Sainsbury Family Charitable Trusts along with the John Ellerman Foundation, Esmee Fairbairn Charitable Trust and Climate Care.