For the 1.3 billion people who live without access to electricity, the Industrial Revolution never happened. Billionaire Manoj Bhargava wants to change that.
Bhargava, creator of the 2-ounce caffeine shot 5-hour Energy, has committed to spending his wealth to improve humanity. But instead of conventional charity, he's focused on inventions that address the root causes of pressing global problems.
"I focus on the fundamentals," says Bhargava. "Nearly every issue in the world boils down to three issues: energy, water, and health," he explains.
To that end, Bhargava founded Stage 2 Innovations, an invention shop that makes, develops, and refines practical products intended to help peoples' lives around the world.
One such product, called Free Electric, is a reclining hybrid stationary bicycle that generates electricity. Pedaling spins a flywheel, which powers a turbine generator, which charges a battery. An hour of pedaling will produce a day's worth of power for a rural household--enough to provide lighting, run a small fan, and charge a mobile device. This electricity comes with no utility bill, generates zero pollution, and produces no waste.
Bhargava plans to deploy 10,000 bikes to India in 2016, with pilot tests commencing in Uttarakhand before a nationwide rollout.
While initial manufacturing of Free Electric, which is set to begin within the next few months, will take place in the United States and India, Bhargava intends for Free Electric eventually to be produced worldwide--but only if he can ensure that no one cuts any corners.
"It's important that the manufacturing is done right," says Bhargava. "We're going to make sure the manufacturers we work with are meeting our standards for quality."
And what if something breaks or wears down?
"Free Electric is made from regular bicycle parts," which Bhargava says is essential to its usefulness. "If something goes wrong, anyone who knows anything about bikes will be able to fix it."
Free Electric is one of numerous potentially world-changing products being developed at Stage 2 Innovations. Another is the Rain Maker, a water-purification technology that uses an evaporative process--similar to how the sun makes rainclouds--to turn salty or polluted water into clean water for drinking and agriculture. Rain Maker units are designed to work at any scale. A single unit, suitable for a village, can clean 1,000 gallons of water per hour. Larger volumes could be handled by employing multiple units in series.
Billions in Change is a new documentary that follows Bhargava and his team of inventors as they create these and other practical solutions to global problems. The film's accompanying movement, Billions in Change, promotes adoption and implementation of the solutions around the world.
Billions in Change is a movement founded by billionaire philanthropist Manoj Bhargava, creator of 5-hour Energy. Along with its accompanying film with the same name, Billions in Change seeks to solve the world's most pressing problems by promoting the adoption of inventions that can improve humanity.