Billionaire Manoj Bhargava made his fortune on energy drinks. Now he's on a mission to energize billions of people around the world with innovative solutions to some of humanity's most pressing 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. "We're focused on addressing those."
However, instead of solely giving money to non-profit charities, he has chosen a rather unconventional approach to philanthropy.
With his wealth, Bhargava has 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. Pedalling spins a flywheel, which powers a turbine generator, which charges a battery. An hour of pedalling 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 in India in 2016, with pilot tests commencing in Uttrakhand 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, he intends for Free Electric to eventually be produced worldwide - but only if he can ensure that no one cuts any corners.
"It's important that manufacturing is done right," explains Bhargava. "We're going to make sure the manufacturers we work with are meeting our standards for quality."
And what if something still 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."
Another among the numerous, potentially world-changing, products being developed at Stage 2 Innovations is the Rain Maker, a water-purification machine 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.
The trailer can be viewed at www.billionsinchange.in. From November 23 through December 6, the full-length documentary will be shown in India on AajTak and India Today TV. See local listings for specific dates and times or visit billionsinchange.in.