Link To Guest Website: GenH
Title: “Modular Hydropower For Moveable & Renewable Generation”
Guests: Jon Swanson & Siddharth Pannir of GenH
Interviewer: Jeffrey Davis – MAGE LLC
Click here to read the transcript
Welcome back to radio entrepreneurs. My name is Jeffrey Davis. I’m the host of radio entrepreneurs, and also chairman of the board founder major LLC management consulting firm. Since 1985 in the Boston area, worked with over 700 leaders of organizations managing change. What a time for change a world of chaos. And with that in mind, now we have two more entrepreneurs this morning, John Swanson, and Siddharth Pannir, or I hope I got that right. Co-founders at GenH. That was the easiest of the three names. Welcome gentlemen, you skip my cognitive limitations.
Tell me about GenH.
So GenH is a renewable energy technology design company, and we are working on a few different technologies, but the one that is farthest along to the road to completion is our modular hydropower system. And it is designed to electrify non-powered dams and canal heads without the need for construction, which often goes with a lot of hydroelectric power projects without the need for any investment in funding this project for 12 long years or seven years. And, you know, the end, the ability to move it when the water resource shifts, which is the most important of all, as we see a climate that changes and, and is more volatile, you will need a resource, extra power extraction technology that also moves with the resource.
Siddharth (1m 37s):
And that is a place where our fossil fields have an advantage where they can store the energy and move that set of energy to another location while, and extracted at the different location that is mismatched and renewable energies. And that is the problem they’re solving.
Jeffrey (1m 54s):
Jeez, how did you get into all of this
Siddharth (1m 58s):
Personally? Well, when I was born now, my dad, my dad worked in the oil industry. So I was always intrigued by what energy was. And then I grew up reading a lot of fast, ask them of, and would read about these fantastical structures growing up long story short did my bachelor’s in mechanical engineering discover thermodynamics, which was fun. And then did my masters in energy system, which was when I met my other co-founder. Rob is not on this call, but we were discussing the economics of renewables and why they were not ever competitive, but fossil fuels without, you know, massive subsidies.
Siddharth (2m 40s):
And that’s how we got into it. We looked at every reason from every angle and the reasons are purely economic. They just can’t match up.
Jeffrey (2m 48s):
So since you’re sounding like you have a competitive advantage, who, what are you replacing that’s currently out there?
Siddharth (2m 56s):
Well, the best way to look at the entire energy system would be to look at the fuel source that has the biggest advantage and that, you know, has the most market share. And that is natural gas. So we have with our technology, tried to re replicates some of the properties of natural gas, which is it’s mobility. It’s ability to produce power close to urban load centers without the need for transmission and in doing so the essentially out curve, the other hydro-power competitors that we have, and I’m doing air quotes here because really the real competition is natural.
Siddharth (3m 39s):
Yes. If you want to solve the bigger problem at hand, which is getting rid of fossil field,
Jeffrey (3m 46s):
Oh, we assume that that’s the long-term goal. Getting to goals seems to be very difficult. Are you currently in a position where you’re generating revenue or are you pre-revenue?
Siddharth (3m 57s):
We are pre-revenue we have a pilot going on in Framingham. We have filed permitting and documentation for dams and New Hampshire and are looking for options in New York state, as well as Rhode Island, maybe Maine we’ll see. It depends on how fast the government of their remarks. But yeah,
Jeffrey (4m 17s):
So who’s funding this business
Siddharth (4m 21s):
So far. Most of our funding has come from friends and family, as well as the state of California who has granted us, the Kelsey grants we are. And, and to that end, we are looking to do our first commercial projects in California on the canal dams there, which are about six to about 25 feet tall controlled water coming in from the Colorado river. Outside of that, we have been funded by Northeastern university and we received a grant from the state of Massachusetts as well. And outside of that, I think that’s about it, John, did I miss anything?
Jon (5m 0s):
No, that covers it. The one hopefully stay in Massachusetts. We’ve talked to spoken to Nathan about it. We should have a, be able to make an official announcement on that. So as the paperwork goes through, so that’s pretty exciting. We feel that watch us into more opportunities for funding here locally. Cause we are based here in Boston.
Jeffrey (5m 19s):
So how do you see this ramping up? Is it a one-year two-year three-year five-year basis?
Siddharth (5m 24s):
What do you mean by ramp up ramp up
Jeffrey (5m 28s):
Until you’re sort of a self-sufficient in the market?
Siddharth (5m 34s):
Well, I can’t give you a timeline. I can tell you that the have a critical mass point, which we know we will reach the problem is how many resources we expand and how efficiently they expand them to reach that point. And that is a question of how much funding we raised, how many engineers we hire and I’m assuming everything goes well. They could even reach that critical mass in the next two years. If we don’t get any funding for it forever, that’ll be a different story. Right? So it’s, it’s a dependent it’s dependent on other variables.
Jeffrey (6m 12s):
Is this all private or is there a public element to this as well?
Siddharth (6m 17s):
Jeffrey (6m 18s):
Like, is this a, do you work with both private industry or in government? How do you, how does it work?
Siddharth (6m 23s):
So a lot of the dams in this country and, and in Europe and Asia as well, a lot of these are owned by state governments. A lot of them come under the, almost all of them come under the purview of FERC unless it’s privately owned. And there’s very few privately owned dams from what I can from, from our initial market research. So we work with the irrigation districts that own these canal heads, or we’ve worked with the state organizations such as MWRA or the mass DCR that owns these dams. And as in charge of maintaining them in New Hampshire, it’s the NSG who we’re talking to, to permit one of their dApps on squam lake.
Siddharth (7m 6s):
So it’s a, mostly a government organization, municipalities, there are private organizations that owners turn in there, but they’re rather, you know, majority of them are public
Jeffrey (7m 23s):
John and Siddharth, if someone were looking for you at GenH and wanted to learn more about what you’re doing, how would they find you?
Jon (7m 33s):
Well, I think we’ve got a pretty exciting website. We, which we’ve done a lot of work on it. I think the explains, you know, kind of soup to nuts, what we’re all about. They could always give us a call. We’d be happy to talk to them about it. And then we are starting to get exposure through programs like this. And then we’ve just recently won an Edison award. So we’re going to be done in Florida, in April, the Cal seed grants, which we’ve discussed. And so what
Siddharth (7m 58s):
It was funded by NSF, sorry to interrupt you. I just remembered that.
Jon (8m 2s):
So I think we’re doing a pretty good job of our own grassroots. We’ve been in touch with people from the BBJ, hopefully to get some articles there. Janet Wu was a personal friend over at Bloomberg, hoping to get some time with her. So I think we’ve got, you know, pretty, pretty good approach. And I think we’ve got a lot of opportunities for us to get the word out there, but of course, you know, we’re, we’re relying on you guys to help us in that effort.
Jeffrey (8m 28s):
Well, we look forward to doing that. It sounds pretty exciting. We hope that as you go through your path of integrating into the marketplace, that you’ll come back and give us some updates so that we can keep our people informed on your progress as entrepreneurs as well.
Siddharth (8m 43s):
Jon (8m 43s):
Would be our pleasure.
Jeffrey (8m 45s):
Thank you very much. And remind everybody, this is radio entrepreneurs.
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