Interview with Michael Hanson
generates clean energy by harvesting the steps of humans into electricity. The mats of enMotion are linked to batteries that charge when people step on them and generate enough energy to turn on a lightbulb, to charge a phone, a laptop or power a TV.
Hi Michael! Could you please introduce enMotion and what led to your founding the company? What major projects as the company been involved in since its founding ?
Hi, my name is Michael Hanson and I'm the co-founder of enMotion which is a renewable energy product, so what our product is a mat that converts human movement into electricity, so when you step on this mat it charges the batteries and the mat is linked to a battery and by stepping on the mat it's charging the battery and that can create enough electricity to charge your phone, charge your laptop or turn on a light bulb.
The project came about after I saw another product called solar power, so what so power is a trainer that you can put a battery in and after walking for an hour, that battery can then charge your phone, so I thought if you can do that why can't you do it on a bigger scale, and with flooring, so that's how we created this mat.
In terms of what we've been involved in we sat in the research and development phase, so we've been perfecting our prototype and we've been going around Columbia testing it where we currently have our headquarters, and we've been in a place called Community 13 testing it with low-income communities and you can see more about that on our website, we've got a video of the work we were doing there. But we've already, even though we're only in research and development phase, we've already had a lot of interest from countries like Nepal and Nigeria. So I'll be talking a bit more about that later.
The sustainable energy industry is currently exploding. What's it been like experiencing this growth with a startup yourself?
Yeah this is a very interesting question actually, because I think the whole movement of renewable energy is no longer just a moral argument, I think it's also said economic and logical argument because, if you look at something like solar or wind probably, the two biggest players at the moment, in the renewable energy industry, the short term costs may be higher because the installations at first can be costly, but after that they kind of run by themselves with very little human resources needed or natural reserve. You're looking at non-renewable energy it's you're constantly having to extract natural resources and it takes a lot of human power to do that.
So I think for this reason you're now getting a lot of venture capitalists throwing a lot of money into renewable energy which is really exciting and I think the business is just going to grow and grow and the explosion as you called it has just started. So yes an exciting space to be in.
Do you see enMotion the continuation of an existing movement in the sustainable energy sector, or is trying to shift the paradigm?
Yeah, to be honest, I think it's a little bit of both because our products can fit into a mix energy home where you've got a mixture of wind solar panel was added in motion mat and in fact the interface of all battery has the ability to connect to solar panels at the same time I do think we are moving the needle because we know wind and the sun is not constant whereas human movement is something that is constant which is one of the reasons we created the company, and then so we're going back to the example of mixed solutions you could have a home in the summer months, your creating electricity through solar in the winter months you can read a book where the light or work on your laptop using in motion mats.
Take us through your day to day. What are the best parts of working for yourself?
So the first thing I do after I wake up is breathing exercises for 10 minutes and then only the run goes to the gym. That's an ideal day that doesn't always happen but that's what I try to aim for in the morning and this gives me some endorphins so I start the day with lots of energy.
Then I'll look through my to-do notes and I tackle the most urgent ones and I also have a look through my LinkedIn, my emails, my slack to make sure I'm on top of urgent communication with anyone else.
After that, in terms of my day to day, my main responsibilities and motion marketing, sales and investment so I could be creating content such as this video, or I could be chasing up investors or sales leads.
Working for yourself is great, and you know controlling your own schedule is great, but I would advise if you work for yourself it should be something you're really passionate about because you're going to end up working crazy hours and often working on the weekend as long as you are doing something you really enjoy. Then it won't feel like work.
Who are the ideal users of enMotion? Where would your technology best be implemented?
There are around 2 billion people in the world who either don't have electricity or have challenges regarding electricity so they may have a lot of blackouts.
The mats are in motion empower these communities to generate their own electricity whenever they want, and also so mats and light and flexible which means they can share them with their neighbors their neighbors can also have electricity.
So a couple of examples of how we can help communities, so we're hoping in early 2019 to roll out two projects one in Nepal with a group of monks who use phones and in their monastery. They're currently using solar panels but, they're looking for a solution when there's no sunlight and so the enMotion mats are perfect.
Also in Nigeria that is an outstanding 80 million people without electricity. So that's a big market for us and therefore now we will partner with Nigeria. These are just two examples but obviously with two billion people in the world the market is massive. So really the possibilities are endless for us in terms of our user base.
What is the the biggest challenge working in emerging technologies?
Yeah, I think the problem you always have when you're trying to create anything innovative is that people say it's not possible. But I really think with perseverance and hard work you really can create anything and achieve anything.
You know who would have thought nowadays that we'd be able to access any information in the world like with a such from a device that fits in our hands.
So really I believe with perseverance and hard work we're able to achieve anything, so the idea of humans being able to create their own electricity you know, I do get no criticism for it but people say oh it's not possible you're naive, but I know it is possible and we're doing it and we're not the only player in the space.
I think it's really going to become a massive thing, and so yeah watch this space because in coming years this is the kinetic energy movement is real and we're going to see a lot of people using it.