Pioneering Sustainable Change through Biofuel
Deepak Desai is changing the narrative with ethanol as a biofuel in India, whose company ‘Business Brains’ is making strides to reduce India’s dependence on fossil fuels to lower carbon emissions and make the industry prioritise eco-consciousness and shape a more environmentally conscious society. His noble initiative was met with a positive response, and even the late, honourable President Dr Abdul Kalam acknowledged his and his team’s work and supported their objective by saying, “It’s not about creating a successful business, it’s about changing lives.”
Hailing from Kolhapur, Deepak completed his school and university education, where he held a law and science degree. Subsequently, he had three years of experience in advertising, marketing, and market research. This enabled him to experience diverse cultures and meet people from all walks of life, which he feels enriched his worldview. His father, Mr. B.K. Desai retired as a Flight lieutenant from Indian Air Force in the year 1978, and he was raised in a very disciplined home due to his father’s military background.
While working with advertising market research and project consultancy services, he decided to start his own individual consultancy firm called ‘Business Brains’. He felt that there was a major hurdle for upcoming entrepreneurs to land good projects that could fuel their businesses forward. Deepak felt that this was due to the lack of guidance centres in small cities and wanted to focus on providing such entrepreneurs with various projects to commence their journey.
He further adds, “So I did a lot of research by visiting all research institutes in India like CFTR Mysore/ CECRI Karaikudi/ CBRI Roorkie/ Textile research institute Ahmedabad/ ICAR new Delhi/ NRDC Delhi etc. and collected basic data on various projects and came out with our own publication of ‘3000 projects for you’ which mentioned the name of the project, min. Investment is required, and the return on investment covers all the sectors.“
This became a major hit, and Deepak’s company sold 4500 copies which aided in securing multiple projects by the entrepreneurs that made his client roster climb to 8500 from across India. Deepak states that a pivotal moment occurred in 2003 which he recalls by saying, “While nurturing our project clients and since we are placed in sugar hub of India where the raw material sugar cane is amply available; large scale investors approached us by utilising sugar cane as raw material, which is a regulatory federal crop controlled by Cane control act. We studied it legally and started a sugar cane juice to ethanol India’s first project in 2003.”
This project propelled the company to explore alternative sources of energy and biofuels, especially ethanol, which was an adaptable resource in India. The company then expanded their reach in Brazil and Thailand. Philippines and Australia.
In regards to his business, he remarks, “Business Brains and team dedicated themselves to assist clients in making informed decisions to enter biofuel industry with their passion of expertise to make the world and India’s future sustainable. A strategy is not only to create a profitable venture but to ensure the venture adheres to ethical and sustainable practices and creates a greener future for generations to come.”
Deepak shares his appetite for business by stating, “We have a purpose to make India fossil fuel free and to focus on the alternative biofuel business. The growth in the ethanol business would be 500 % with a target of blending 1500 crores till 2025, and worth would be more than 50,000 crores with the biofuel mission, 35 lakh farmers can get the benefit, and a minimum 8 lakh jobs would be created in rural areas at the current stage. This itself is our focus.”
Due to his tremendous contribution to biofuel, he was awarded the Man of Excellence Award 2023 from Indian Achiever’s Forum in June 2023. He was also interviewed as an alternative fuel expert on Zee News Channel, which was telecasted in 80 countries in 2005. He was invited to a presentation at the conference ‘GIVE’ Grower Innovation Virtual Expo on “Value adding where is the rest of the world going”, held in Australia in 2009. Besides this, his company has been recognised by the Australian Government for creating awareness about ethanol. He was invited to deliver a presentation at the conference ‘Bio-Energy World Americas’ at Salvador, Brazil on “India As an Ethanol HubProducer and Global Market Supplier” in 2009. Most recently, he won the ET Leadership Excellence Award 2023.
He provides a message to the youth by saying that it is not necessary to have a very high intellect or be supremely talented, but what matters is the right attitude and a smart thought process. He feels that there are lots of opportunities for them due to various programmes and initiatives like ‘Digital India’, ‘Smart India’ and ‘Make in India’. He also wants to appeal to the youth to be innovative as it is the ability to see change as an opportunity.