Gopal Jee: The Banana Boy Lighting up Sustainable Dreams

In the heart of Naugachia, Bhagalpur, India where the aroma of banana plantations fills the air, a young Indian researcher and innovator named Gopal Jee, fondly known as the “Banana Boy,” has emerged as a beacon of inspiration. Born on April 24, 2000, in a humble agricultural family, Gopal’s journey from the flood-prone fields of Naugachia to the world stage is nothing short of remarkable.

Gopal’s connection to the banana fields runs deep, with childhood memories tainted by the devastation of his father’s farm during the 2008 monsoons. Witnessing the destruction fueled Gopal’s determination to find a solution to utilize banana waste for a greater purpose – creating green energy.

Despite facing financial hardships and rejections from private schools, Gopal’s thirst for knowledge remained unquenchable. Home-tutored by a dedicated teacher from his village, Chandan Kumar Thakur, Gopal’s parents, Prem Ranjan Kumar and Usha Devi, cultivated an academic environment that became the breeding ground for his innovative spirit.

By the age of 17, Gopal had already accomplished ten inventions, two of which were under provisional patent. His groundbreaking work, such as the Banana Bio Cell, garnered global recognition, demonstrating his commitment to transforming waste into valuable resources.

The idea for the Banana Bio Cell struck Gopal in Class IX when a banana juice stain on his shirt piqued his curiosity. Recognizing the acidic nature of the juice, he envisioned its potential as a battery fluid. With two electrodes, one zinc and one copper, connected to banana stems, he generated 3 volts of electricity – enough to power an LED bulb for three hours. This invention not only illuminated his home during power outages but also illuminated a path toward a greener, sustainable future.

Gopal’s journey took a significant turn when his school principal forwarded his invention to the Department of Science and Technology (DST) in Patna. Awarded with a grant of 5000 rupees, Gopal prepared a working model and presented it at the Inspire Award exhibition, ultimately winning at the district, state, and national levels.

His passion and dedication caught the attention of Bihar’s Chief Minister, Shree Nitish Kumar, and Chief Secretary Anjani Kumar Singh. Recognizing Gopal’s potential, they provided him with a research lab at Bhagalpur Engineering College. However, Gopal’s dream surpassed the available resources, leading him to the Prime Minister’s Office in India.

In August 2017, Gopal met Hon’ble Prime Minister Shree Narendra Modi, showcasing his innovations and future projects. Ten days later, he received a letter from the DST, offering him access to the most advanced research lab at the National Innovation Foundation in Ahmedabad. Financial constraints kept him from joining, but Gopal’s determination led him to the Graphic Era University Research Centre for his next project.

Despite facing challenges, including the closure of his lab due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Gopal’s journey continued. Joining Navneet Industries during the pandemic as a Research Director focused on Renewable Energy, he remained steadfast in his commitment to innovation. Offers from renowned institutions and companies, including NASA, JAIN IRRIGATION, iSmart, IBM, Stanford, and Oxford, underscored the global impact of Gopal’s work.

Gopal Jee’s story serves as a testament to the power of perseverance, innovation, and the relentless pursuit of knowledge. From the flood-prone fields of Naugachia to international recognition, he continues to inspire aspiring researchers and innovators worldwide. As Gopal lights up the world with his inventions, he reminds us all that a single idea, fueled by passion and purpose, can illuminate the path to a brighter, sustainable future.