Our People

Mr. Hemant Lamba, Chairman

Hemant Lamba is a passionate believer in renewable energy and its development. He co-founded Auroville Renewable Energy (AuroRE) in Tamilnadu, India. He was also awarded with Ashden Award in 2004 for his work in the field of renewable energy development. He is a graduate in Economics and Entrepreneurship from Delhi University. He has been working in Auroville since 1991 in promoting, developing and training small businesses supplying solar energy to rural areas. AuroRE is involved in implementing such small scale projects and has the vision to make people depend on renewable energy systems and go off-grid. Mr Hemant has an expertise and interest in social innovations, energy policies, enterprise development and partnerships. Mr Hemant is also part of AIREC as one of the Directors.

Ms. Sarah Butler-Sloss, Director and Advisor

Sarah Butler-Sloss is the Founder of Ashden. Sarah has been a leader in the field of sustainable energy for the past 20 years and is on a mission to convince the world of its huge benefits in tackling climate change, reducing poverty and improving lives. She is particularly vocal about energy efficiency, the need to support cleantech entrepreneurs, and energy access in developing countries. Ashden Trust was started by her in 1990 to address the social and environmental problems. She worked with communities by providing sustainable renewable energy solutions across the globe. Over the years, impact of renewable energy technologies on people's lives were visualised. Ashden Awards was established in 2001 to recognise such interventions in the field of renewable energy which showcase transformational impact on people's lives and the local and global environment. She contributes actively to the UK and global policy debates in the field of sustainable energy. She is also an active member of UN’s International Sustainable Energy for All Practitioner Network. Sarah is a graduate in Zoology and Psychology. She sets an example by practicing the rules of sustainable lifestyle in her day to day life by solar installations at home, use of efficient appliances, growing own food, driving a hybrid car and reducing her work and holiday travel to the extent possible.

Dr. A SajiDas, Director

Dr. A Sajidas has the experience of more than 29 years in designing and execution of various models of Biogas plants, other Renewable energy projects, waste management projects and Energy conservation activities. He is presently working as International Biogas Consultant in The Ministry of Agriculture, Republic of Yemen. He is the recipient of several National and International awards including GREEN OSCAR (INTERNATIONAL ASHDEN AWARD 2007) for generation of energy through decentralized waste treatment, awarded by AI Gore, formerly Vice President of America, in the presence of Prince Charles - Prince of Wales. Has been nominated as a member of the Working group in the Ministry of New and Renewable Energy, Govt. of India, for providing technical support for renewable energy solutions in telecom towers in the Country.

He has acquired Masters Degree (MA) in Sociology and Doctorate in Solid Waste Management. He invented more than 22 Important Innovations relating to the development of various Green Energy Projects and presented 8 different papers for the National and International seminars.

Mr. Ramesh Kumar Nibhoria, Director

Ramesh Nibhoria is a social entrepreneur, and creator of biomass pellet fuelled cook stove in India. He pursued Mechanical Engineering from Central Polytechnic, Chandigarh (1987), attended Global Social Benefit Incubator (GSBI) in the year 2007 and GSBI-Accelerator in the year 2013. In the year 2000, he started manufacturing Sanjha Chulha (Earth Stoves), a biomass briquette fired community kitchen stove, to negate the need for liquefied petroleum gas (LPG). He won the ASHDEN AWARD-2005, PCRA -2001. Now, his company Nishant Bioenergy P Ltd NB is world's pioneer which promotes biomass pellet/briquette fuelled cook stoves, Pellet Plants and Pellet burners. Currently, his stoves are installed in 2875 places with more than 11000 installations expected by the end of 2018.

Giles Bristow, Director of Programmes

Giles Bristow leads the Energy Programme at Ashden as the Director of Programmes. He previously held the senior management position of Director of Programmes at Forum For the Future. His earlier career prior to Forum was as an environmental law specialist with Slaughter and May and Chief Executive Officer at Carbon Leapfrog. He focused on reducing the barriers to and maximising the opportunities for community renewable energy in the UK and internationally.

He has a keen interest in environmental law and policy. His first degree was a BSc in Geography from Durham University, which he followed with a year of research into the geotechnical response of saltmarsh sediments to sea-level rise. He wrote a thesis on the impact of UK fiscal policies on the project financing of onshore renewable energy whilst studying for a Masters degree in Energy Policy and Sustainability at the University of Exeter. HIs passion for transformational change is focused on practical, tangible steps – his work thus far in the energy sector demonstrates that collaborative action can invoke real and significant systemic change.

Ms. Chhavi Sharma, International Programme Manager (Ashden UK)

Chhavi manages Ashden’s International Awards and Business Support programmes. This involves overseeing the application and judging processes and helping find our new cohort of winners as well as providing them with the support they need to grow and scale their work. She also manages Ashden’s relationship with the Ashden India Renewable Energy Collective.

Mr. Keshav C Das, CEO

Keshav has over 15 years of experience in international development and the private sector- specifically in the energy and climate change areas. Prior to joining AIREC, Keshav served as Sector Leader and Senior Advisor of the Energy and Climate Sector in SNV Netherlands Development Organisation. Keshav has also served as Senior Advisor to the Government of Ethiopia and led the development of the five-year country planning framework for the green growth planning and implementation. He holds a master's in rural management from North Eastern Hill University, India. He also holds postgraduate diplomas in Advanced Accounting and Natural Resource management from the University of California, San Diego and Wageningen UR.

Mr. Prashanth Varanasi, Senior Programme Officer

Prashanth Varanasi is a development professional working in the field of renewable energy since last six years. He is currently working as a Senior Programme Officer at AIREC. He is involved in the overall programme management and business development of the organisation. His expertise lies in advocacy activities, partnership development, implementation and analysis of the renewable energy projects including, solar, improved cookstoves, micro hydro along with social impact assessments.

He has completed his Masters in Natural Resources Management from TERI University and has worked in the clean energy access programme of The Energy and Resources Institute (TERI), Lighting a Billion Lives (LaBL). He carries an experience in research and implementation of renewable energy projects at the grassroots. Prashanth also carries a knowledge of conducting research studies for solar lighting and clean cooking projects independently as a freelance consultant in the past. He has a field experience in research, training as well as monitoring activities across India as well as in African countries like Kenya, Ethiopia, Congo and Uganda. His passion lies in travelling, photography and is a foodie.

Mr. Pugazenthi Dhananjayan, Senior Programme Officer

Pugazenthi Dhananjayan is working with Ashden India as Senior Programme Officer. He has five years of experience in the field of energy and development. He has been closely involved in techno-economic analysis, development of case studies, document best practices of social as well as business models from the technologies implemented across different geographical locations. He has worked in assignments from numerous organizations such as WWF-India, UNDP, MNRE, TERI University and TERI. His work has been published as working papers, peer-reviewed journals, and Springer Book chapters. His research interest includes of energy and development, socio-economics of energy access, energy poverty and rural livelihood, and sustainable development.

He holds a Bachelors of Technology in Mechanical and Energy Engineering from Vellore Institute of Technology (VIT University), Vellore; and a Masters of Technology in Renewable Energy Engineering & Management from TERI University, New Delhi. Professional membership: WASRTI, SANDEE, ISDS.


Ms. Soma Dutta

Soma Dutta is presently the Programme Coordinator for Women's Economic Empowerment Programme at ENERGIA, the International network on Gender and Sustainable Energy. She currently leads ENERGIA’s Scaling up Energy Access, which, through its partner organisations in Africa and Asia, supports women’s micro and small energy enterprises, building their capacities through business development training and technical assistance. She works on cross cutting issues of gender, poverty and development in the context of energy access. She actively supports policy makers, practitioners, governments, NGOs and international organizations in project planning; socio-economic, institutional and policy analysis; and capacity building.

Ms. Rekha Krishnan

Rekha is the founder of WEFT Research. She is an economist with over 20 years’ experience in policy research and analysis on sustainable energy, energy access, energy pricing, decentralised renewable energy, clean cooking energy access and water inequities. She has worked with TERI (The Energy and Resources Institute) for over ten years in various roles. She helped set up the Ashden India Renewable Energy Collective as a think-tank along with a group of enterprises that have won the prestigious Ashden Awards. In her projects, she has engaged with a range of clients including World Bank, Asian Development Bank, GIZ, DfID, Shakti Sustainable Energy Foundation, Climate Parliament, various ministries of the Government of India and a number of energy companies. Rekha has developed energy-water plans for rural clusters, conducted field impact assessments of energy price volatility and water stress on communities and has devised elaborate systems of indicators such as one to measure country-level energy security risks and vulnerabilities.