What is Billions in Change?

Billions in Change is a movement to build a better future by focusing on fundamental solutions to serious global problems in the areas of water, energy, and healthcare.

Who is behind Billions in Change?

Billions in Change is led by Manoj Bhargava, the creator of 5-hour Energy.

What does Billions in Change do?

We promote the development and implementation of solutions to the world’s most pressing problems. We also foster a global community of supporters and create opportunities for people to get involved. Together we can accelerate the widespread adoption of world-changing ideas.

Why only create solutions for water, energy, and health problems?

At least for now, we are focused on the fundamental issues that affect the largest portion of humanity: affordable and reliable electricity, clean water, and effective healthcare. They are three of the most basic human needs and also influence food availability, nutrition, morbidity and mortality, livelihood, education, quality of life, poverty, crime, war and almost every aspect of our lives.

What is the timing to get these inventions to the public?

Renew ECP began shipping in November 2015. Visit the US website or Asia website for information about distribution in your region. The newly designed Hans Free Electric™ bike should be available in fall 2017. All intentions were to start sooner, but results from the latest field-testing indicated that both the bike and the battery needed some significant design modifications. Rain Maker is also undergoing additional improvements. The graphene solution is still in early stages of development. Join us or follow Billions in Change on Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, and Instagram for updates.

Who invented these solutions?

Some of the solutions are Stage 2 inventions. Others were existing ideas that the Stage 2 engineers modified and improved.

Will these solutions be too expensive to implement?

All of the solutions will be affordable, and all are much simpler, more efficient, more useful, and less expensive in the long run than many of the alternatives.

What roadblocks are preventing these solutions from being sold commercially?

At this point, the delay has less to do with roadblocks and more to do with high standards for usefulness and efficiency. Every time the Stage 2 engineers think of a way to make one of the inventions smaller, simpler, less expensive, or more useful, they take the time to build and test the new design. No one wants to put out an inferior product if there’s something that could have been done to make it better. Unfortunately, all of that rethinking and redesigning takes time. This has been the case for both the Hans Free Electric™ bike and for Rain Maker.

Can you discuss any new inventions on the horizon at Stage 2?

The focus right now is on making improvements to the current solutions and setting up processes for production and distribution. When those are in place, we’ll be able to talk about a few of the new ideas being developed. Join us or follow Billions in Change on Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, and Instagram for updates.

If Manoj is willing to give billions of dollars away, why not just give the money to the needy?

Poverty isn’t caused by a lack of money. Rather, poverty results from an inability to earn a sufficient living. Therefore, giving money to the needy won’t be a permanent fix. Manoj’s aim is to use great inventions to enable people to make their own livelihoods, and to empower people—regardless of where they live or how much money they have—to achieve their maximum wellbeing.

How is Manoj spending the 99% of his wealth that he’s earmarked for philanthropy?

Currently, Manoj is fulfilling his commitment through a variety of activities. He is giving money to charities in India, funding the construction and operation of new non-profit hospitals in India, investing in other health, agriculture, and clean water projects for the poor, funding the Stage 2 invention shop, finding and developing new products and technologies that align with the mission (including buying patents when necessary), establishing manufacturing plants and distribution channels in different parts of the world, and employing the hundreds of people involved with the different stages of these projects

Why doesn't Manoj just give the inventions away instead of charging for them?

The cost to solve the problems facing humanity far surpasses the wealth of any one person. If Manoj were only to give away the inventions he’s developed, very few people would ultimately be served. Even before the products get to market, significant sums of money have already been spent on research and development, building manufacturing infrastructure, and paying the hundreds of employees involved at each step in the process. Manoj believes the best way to fulfill his mission of developing products and technologies that can benefit humanity is to reinvest the revenue received for the products. That reinvestment could involve subsidizing existing products for those who can’t afford them, expanding the manufacturing and distribution of those products into new regions, or developing and producing entirely new products. All money received goes back to the mission. It’s the only way to create scaled and sustained impact over the long term and to improve the lives of the most people possible.

How can I work with you?

If you’re interested in working with Stage 2 or Billions in Change, please click here and select the appropriate option from the drop-down menu. Upload a cover letter or proposal detailing your interest, as well as your resume. While we can assure that your materials will be reviewed by someone on our team, we cannot promise a response to everyone who reaches out.

Can Manoj contribute to my cause?

Manoj sees a lot of great causes and ideas all around the world. At this point, he is working on so many projects that he doesn’t have the capacity to take on anything new. Thank you for understanding.

I have an idea or invention I’d like to share with Stage 2. How can I do that?

If you have an idea you would like to share, you may do so here. However, please do not submit any confidential or proprietary content. Please also note that Stage 2 receives an overwhelming number of inquiries and suggestions from around the world every day. And while we can assure that your message will be read by someone on the team, we cannot promise a response to everyone who reaches out.

Can I visit Stage 2?

Unfortunately not. Stage 2 does not offer tours of its facilities.

Are you planning any activities in my area?

The Billions in Change road team made a number of appearances in North America in 2016. At this point, no events are scheduled for 2017. You can stay posted on upcoming events through our Facebook page or on our website.

How can I support Billions in Change?

Please encourage your friends to watch and share our trailer and film, and follow us on Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, and Instagram. Please also join us to receive updates and information on future opportunities to get involved.

Do we need to get your permission to have a public viewing of the film?

You do not need permission to have a public viewing of the film, but if this is something you are interested in doing, we would love to be informed of your plans. If you are looking to draw a significant crowd, we may be able to help promote your event through our social networks.

I’d like to translate the film into another language. What’s the process of doing that?

We are currently developing a process to subtitle the film with different languages but would be happy to keep your information on file. Please click here to indicate your interest in being a volunteer translator and state the languages in which you are fluent.

I’m a teacher and would like to build some lessons around the Billions in Change film. Do you have any resources?

Indeed we do! We are developing an education toolkit that includes lesson plans for grades 6-12 based on the film. Visit our Education page to view and download the available units.

What’s the status of Rain Maker?

Stage 2 continues to modify Rain Maker to make it smaller and more efficient. Because of the scale of the project, no one wants to release a substandard product. In the meantime, they’re developing other water solutions, which we expect to be able to announce later in 2017.

How much will one Rain Maker unit cost?

The prototype is still being refined, so there is no cost estimate at this time.

If red tape is preventing the Rainmaker from being implemented in communities, why not go after large corporations that can use the technology?

That is being considered. Several companies and universities have already expressed interest.

Is the salt byproduct that Rain Maker produces harmful to the environment?

The distillation process Rain Maker uses is no different from how the sun evaporates ocean water and forms rain clouds: Fresh water is produced, and salt is left behind. The amount of fresh water created in both instances, however, is inconsequential compared to the volume of the ocean. That said, if Rain Maker is used for desalination, the salt will be returned to the ocean in a manner that creates no negative impact on the marine environment. If Rain Maker is used for cleaning contaminated water, the salts, minerals, and pollutants left behind will be in a semi-solid state and can be disposed of safely and efficiently in a land-based waste facility.

What type of power source is required to run the Rain Maker?

Rainmaker runs on 240V/480V 3-phase systems, and is designed to operate with generators so it can be run in very remote areas without a power grid.

Can the Rain Maker clean wastewater from the fracking process?

Yes it can, but the degree to which the water is purified depends on the contents of the wastewater. Rain Maker has not been tested on fracking wastewater to date.

Does Rain Maker remove lead, and could it be a solution to the water contamination crisis in Flint, Michigan?

The answer is both yes and no. The results of Rain Maker’s first round of testing in fall 2015 showed that it is effective at removing lead from contaminated water. However, the current problem in Flint is not an issue of the source of the water being contaminated, which is the scale at which Rain Maker could potentially help. Rather, it’s an issue of water infrastructure, where the pipes bringing water into homes have become corroded and are leaching lead and other toxins into the water. Rain Maker wasn’t designed to address water delivery issues, nor is it a home-based solution.

Isn’t water one of the main ingredients of 5-hour Energy? Would Manoj consider using Rainmaker water to produce 5-hour?

Yes, that’s the plan.

When will the Hans Free Electric™ bike be available for purchase?

The latest estimate is that the Hans Free Electric™ bike will be available to buyers in the US and India sometime in late 2017.

Why is the bike taking so long to get to market? I feel like I have been waiting forever.

Since the release of the film in October 2015, Manoj and Stage 2 have been working on setting up the processes and partnerships necessary to begin production and distribution of the Hans Free Electric™ bike. In the meantime, Stage 2 also performed a pretty significant design overhaul. (Check out the model shown in the film vs. how it looks today). More improvements were made based on the spring 2016 pilot study, and now further modifications are underway based on follow-up field-testing in early 2017. As is the case with every Stage 2 invention, no one wants to put out a substandard product, so they are continually improving it.

How much electricity does Hans Free Electric™ generate?

The amount of energy the Hans Free Electric™ bike generates in an hour depends on how hard you want to pedal, and also whether you’re simply charging the battery, or also running powered devices while pedaling. The estimated range of energy generation from easy-to-hard pedaling is about 30-200 Watts per hour.

What were the details of the Hans Free Electric™ pilot study in India?

The first shipment of Hans Free Electric™ bikes left Farmington Hills, Michigan for the India pilot study in early March 2016. In mid-March 2016 the bikes were distributed at no charge to energy-poor households, schools, and small businesses in villages outside of Lucknow, Amethi, and Raebareli. Those recipients gauged how well Hans Free Electric™ would work in the real world. A local distributor and non-profit partner helped with assembly and trained others on how to assemble and troubleshoot the bike. They also conducted pre/post surveys with recipients to learn their perspectives on the benefits of the bike, as well as to get their feedback on how it might be improved. The pilot study concluded in fall 2016 and based on feedback from the participants, Stage 2 made some significant design changes to the bike as well as to the battery. Those newly designed products were sent back for field-testing in March 2017. Stage 2 is making additional improvements based on those results.

Why were the bikes for the India pilot manufactured in the US? Wouldn’t it have been better to make them in India?

Stage 2 produced the 25 Hans Free Electric™ bikes for the India pilot at their facility in Farmington Hills, Michigan, because all of the necessary tooling was already in place. They also did this in order to build and test an optimal production line that could be replicated easily in other parts of the world.

Is the Hans Free Electric™ bike patented?

Yes.

Is there a way for you to give me the instructions to build the Hans Free Electric™ bike myself so I don’t have to buy it?

While Hans Free Electric™ is made mostly from standard bicycle parts, it also contains quite a few custom-made features that require precise tooling. Because of strict standards for product quality, it is important that Stage 2 oversee all manufacturing processes so that sub-standard products do not enter the market. For that reason, the production specifications will not be released at this time. Thank you for understanding.

Would Stage 2 be willing to share the design specifications of the bike if someone else wanted to help scale the solution around the world?

Stage 2 would be willing to share the plans, as long as they could ensure that the bike would be manufactured to their standards. That would involve a pretty significant vetting process, as well as in-person training at their facility in Farmington Hills, Michigan to learn how to set up the production lines.

I’d like to set up a gym with Hans Free Electric™ bikes. What do you think?

We think it’s an interesting idea. Setting up a gym with Hans Free Electric™ is certainly feasible, but there may need to be some adjustments if you’re wanting to power more heavy duty appliances or electronics.

What is the status of Limitless Energy?

The graphene project is still in the early research stage. A lot of resources are devoted to it, but it will still be some time before the idea can be proven to work in the real world. We’ll be sure to make an announcement as soon as there is a newsworthy development.

Could tapping energy from the earth’s core have negative consequences to the planet?

Not at all. The entire earth is a ball of molten rock with a small crust on top. The graphene project won’t even scratch the surface. In fact, it’s essentially a more efficient way to tap geothermal energy. The only difference is that graphene has the potential for a solid-state heat transfer as opposed to using steam or liquid heat transfers, which operate with only 7-10% efficiency. With graphene’s properties, the heat transfer will be close to 100% efficient. Even in 100 million years, there would be no negative effect on the earth, no matter how much heat is harnessed.

What is the status of Renew ECP?

Renew ECP began shipping in November 2015 and was recently approved by the US Food and Drug Administration for increased blood flow for both heart patients and healthy individuals. It is intended for use under the supervision of a healthcare professional. Visit the US website or Asia website for information about distribution in your region.

Will insurance cover this?

For patients with certain conditions, ECP therapy is covered by most insurance plans, as well as by Medicare and Medicaid.

What types of doctors are allowed to write prescriptions for the treatment?

While ECP therapy is typically prescribed by cardiologists or cardiac surgeons, any medical professional with prescriptive authority may be able to prescribe it, depending on State law.