5 Do-Gooder Companies Bringing Green Tech to the Developing World


Organized by the Council of Science Editors, 235 scientific journals from 37 countries around the world published articles on poverty and human development yesterday. We thought we’d do our part here at Earth2Tech and talk about five companies working on projects that could form part of the green solution for developing countries outside of North America, Europe and Japan.

D-Light: D-Light wants to eliminate the use of kerosene lamps in the world. As they point out, “These sources of light are expensive, hazardous and polluting.” But a couple of billion people are forced to use kerosene because they have no access to electricity. Their plan? Rechargeable LED lights that can use solar power or plug into a grid.

Potenco: Potenco produces a small pull-cord generator for powering appliances off the grid. Originally designed for the One Laptop Per Child project, one minute of pulling the product generates 20 minutes of mobile phone talk time or an hour of ultra-bright LED flashlight use. In fact, D-Light and Potenco seem like a match made in heaven, though we haven’t heard of them teaming up (yet).

IKF Technologies: This former software company has traded bits for biodiesel. The company is betting on jatropha, the plant that many smart people, including the folks at Goldman, are highlighting as a crop with major biodiesel potential. Recently, the firm, which is listed on the Bombay stock exchange, signed a deal worth $50 million to put jatropha plantations in northeastern India and Thailand.

Tsinghua Solar: This spinoff from Tsinghua University, the Harvard of China, pioneered solar water heaters in China. Now, 30 million Chinese people have a cleantech water heater, although the market for their production is reportedly fragmented. Still, the government claims 200 million Chinese people are already benefiting from solar hot water.

Asian Development Bank: The ADB is committed to lending $1 billion a year to Asian countries for investment in clean technology [pdf]. One recent high-profile project is Vietnam’s Mong Duong thermal power plant, to which the bank has promised $931 million.

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