Interview with Akshay Kashyap, Managing Director, Greenfuel Energy Solutions

1. Can you tell us about your journey towards becoming the Managing Director of Greenfuel Energy Solutions, and how did you develop an interest in the green energy sector?

As a mechanical engineer with a degree from the Florida Institute of Technology, I worked in the US for three years before returning to India in 2004. During that time, I noticed a large gap in the C&G sector in India compared to the global market. This led to the formation of Greenfuel Energy Solutions, where we focused on educating and engineering solutions for the vehicles, with a focus on safety. We convinced Tata Motors to implement our solutions and expanded to other customers in the commercial vehicle segment like Volvo Issure and Ashok Leyland. My interest in the green energy sector grew from the need to address the safety concerns in the C&G sector and engineer holistic solutions that met global standards.

2. What are the main challenges that Greenfuel Energy Solutions faces in the renewable energy market, and how do you plan to overcome them?

The main challenges faced by Greenfuel Energy Solutions in the renewable energy market include convincing people in India to use higher quality and global level safety products, and educating people about what constitutes a good battery in the EV sector. In the past, the clean mobility sector was considered an alternative, and it was difficult to get people to agree to use components of global standards because they cost more. However, people became more receptive after some time. In the current EV sector, the first question in the battery ecosystem is price rather than performance, reliability, and safety, leading to a spate of EV fires. The challenge is to educate people about the basic safety and performance requirements of a good battery and why it is worth spending more. The shift in attitude towards prioritizing safety and performance over price is necessary to overcome these challenges.

3. How does Greenfuel Energy Solutions ensure the quality and efficiency of its renewable energy solutions, and what steps do you take to maintain customer satisfaction?

Greenfuel Energy Solutions ensures the quality of its renewable energy solutions through a zero-defect approach, which involves implementing processes and systems that are not people-dependent. The company has high quality standards and extensive training, including a dojo center where operators receive training on safety and equipment. Quality is ingrained in the company culture, with workers signing a zero-defect pledge every morning. Customer satisfaction is based on quality, cost efficiency, and delivery, which includes product delivery and service delivery. The company continuously enhances cost efficiencies through value engineering processes and measures customer satisfaction through a set of metrics.

4. Could you walk us through one of the most successful renewable energy projects that Greenfuel Energy Solutions has implemented, and what made it successful?

One of Greenfuel Energy Solutions’ most successful renewable energy projects was engineering a failsafe CNG system for low-floor buses in Delhi, ahead of the Commonwealth Games. The system needed to meet cost targets, be reliable for 12 years, and provide safety for international dignitaries and athletes. The company successfully implemented the system, and all low-floor buses in Delhi now use their CMT systems with over 30 billion kilometers covered without a single product failure under warranty. Another project that the company is proud of is their development of a CNG system with new technology after noticing that no advancements had been made in the previous ten years.

5. What are the future plans for Greenfuel Energy Solutions in terms of expansion, product development, and innovation?

Greenfuel Energy Solutions has ambitious plans for expansion, product development, and innovation. As alternative fuels and clean mobility become more important, the company plans to invest heavily in hydrogen technologies for mobility and in the electric vehicle and energy storage areas, with a focus on developing new, more efficient products. Additionally, Greenfuel Energy Solutions has capex plans of more than 100 crores within the next three years.

6. How does Greenfuel Energy Solutions work with other stakeholders, such as government agencies, NGOs, and industry partners, to advance the adoption of renewable energy solutions?

Greenfuel Energy Solutions collaborates with various stakeholders to advance the adoption of renewable energy solutions. The company has technology partners that it learns from, particularly from Europe and America, which are usually ahead in technology. Greenfuel Energy Solutions also values its partnerships with NGOs and industry partners. In terms of working with government agencies, the company participates in various standard and policy committees to give valuable input in framing policies. For instance, the company has participated in committees such as ACMA, STDC, and the Ministry of Transport Committee for fame subsidies. Currently, Greenfuel Energy Solutions is part of the Battery Swapping Standards Committee.