Frequently Asked Questions

What is Billions in Change?

Billions in Change is a movement to build a better future by creating and implementing solutions to serious problems facing the world in the areas of water, energy and health. Solving those problems requires more than just talk and awareness; it requires action, which is our focus.

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Who is behind Billions in Change?

Manoj Bhargava, creator of 5-hour Energy, founded Billions in Change as a way to positively impact humanity.

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What does Billions in Change do?

The goal of Billions in Change is to have a direct impact on the fundamental needs of the world. It is finding, developing and distributing inventions to bring immediate relief in three basic areas – water, energy and health.

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Why only water, energy, and health?

Water, energy and health are three of the most basic human needs. These three affect food, health, livelihood, education, quality of life, poverty, crime, war and almost every aspect of our lives.

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

Not being able to make a living is what causes poverty. So giving money to the needy won’t be a permanent fix. Instead we are focused on inventions that serve humanity. Our aim is 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 maximum wellbeing.

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Can I donate or volunteer?

We do not accept donations, but we need your help. Please encourage your friends to watch and share our trailer and film, and follow us at Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, and Instagram. If you would like to volunteer, please join us. This movement is in its early stage, so it may take us a little while to respond back. But as we grow, our communication will improve.

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Who else can take advantage of the inventions mentioned in the Billions in Change documentary?

Individuals and organizations interested in clean energy and water solutions can inquire about obtaining some of the devices developed by Stage 2.

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Will your innovations be too expensive to implement?

All of the innovations will be affordable, and all are much cheaper in the long run than many of the alternatives.

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Do you allow people to come to your location and see your company at work?

We currently do not offer tours of our facilities, but we are working to create a museum. Join us or follow Billions in Change on social media for updates.

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

Renew ECP began shipping in November 2015. Visit our US website or Asia website for information about distribution in your region. Initial production of Free Electric began in February 2016 and a pilot study in India began in March 2016. The results of the pilot will inform any further refinements to the bike. In the meantime, we’re in the process of setting up three manufacturing plants: one in Singapore and two in India. We will begin planning production of Rain Maker in Q2 2016. Join us or follow Billions in Change on social media for updates.

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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 to form 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, we commit to ensuring that 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.

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Are you interested in other technologies or just the ones you are promoting?

We are looking at many different technologies that could improve what we’re doing. We want our products to be the best and most efficient products on the market. We are open to hearing from and working with people who want to make a real difference in the world. But if people are just looking to get rich off their inventions, we are not interested.

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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. We’re not even scratching the surface. In fact, our work with graphene is simply a more efficient way to tap geothermal energy. The only difference is that we’re working on 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 we harness.

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What other disease states are you working on?

We are working on diabetes, lung function, neuropathy, and several others.

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Did you invent these innovations?

Energy-producing bikes are not new, but the electricity produced by Free Electric isn’t comparable to the old bikes. Before Free Electric there wasn’t anything that produced enough electricity to power 24 light bulbs, a fan, a phone, and tablet charger at the same time. The Rain Maker and Limitless Energy are Stage 2 inventions. We did not invent the Renew ECP Machine, but we made it better, smaller and more efficient.

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How do I share my ideas?

If you have an idea you would like to share, you may do so here. Please note you should not submit any confidential or proprietary content. 

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

You do not need permission to have a public viewing of the video, 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.

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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 our US website or Asia website for information about distribution in your region.

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What is the status of the Free Electric pilot study?

The first shipment of Free Electric bikes left Farmington Hills, Michigan for our 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 close to Lucknow, Amethi and Raebareli. Those recipients will gauge how well Free Electric works in the real world. We partnered with a local distributor and non-profit group to help with assembly, and to train others on how to assemble and troubleshoot the bike. We’re also conducting pre/post surveys with recipients to learn their perspectives on the benefits of the bike, as well as to get their feedback about how we can improve it. Once we have the results of the pilot we will make necessary improvements to the bike before beginning our scaled production.

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When and where can I buy Free Electric?

We intend to have two versions of the bike. One version, which we’re creating strictly for people in energy-poor regions of the world (beginning with India), will be priced quite low (up to 17,000 rupees, or $250 US). Manufacturing for that version will take place in Singapore and India beginning in late summer or early fall 2016. For people in wealthy countries who want the bike for exercise or who simply like the idea of generating their own power, the bike will have a few more bells and whistles, including a lithium-ion battery and more aesthetic features, and will be priced based on the market (likely $US 1,200 - $US 1,500). Manufacturing for that version will begin in mid-2016 in the United States. For every bike we sell in a wealthy country, one bike will be given to someone in a poor country. When pre-orders become available, we will make that announcement first to our volunteers who signed up prior to December 1, 2015, and then to all others who volunteered or signed up to receive updates.

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

Since October 2015 when we released the film we’ve been focused primarily on getting the processes and partnerships set up to begin production and distribution of Free Electric. In the meantime, we’ve also done a pretty significant design overhaul of the bike. (Check out the model shown in the film vs. how it looks today). Our goal was to make it as simple as possible to manufacture, assemble, and use, and that led us to testing out a few versions. Once we settled on the final model, we had to set up our production lines, which takes time. Bikes have a lot of parts. Free Electric uses 130 parts (which is relatively few compared to standard bicycles), and 80 of those are custom. So there was substantial tooling involved. Our first run of 25 bikes came off the line in late February 2016 and in early March they were shipped to India for pilot testing with a sample of households, schools, and small businesses that currently lack regular access to electricity. Once we get the results from those users, we’ll plan the larger rollout: first to India, and then to other parts of Asia and beyond.

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When and where will you be manufacturing the Free Electric bikes?

We’re in the process of setting up three manufacturing plants: one in Singapore and two in India. Because the Singapore plant will probably be up and running first—likely in the next few months—the bikes coming out of Singapore will be shipped to India until the Indian facilities are ready. We're aiming for production in India to begin sometime in early fall. Once India's production lines are running, the Indian plants will supply India, and we'll send the bikes being produced in Singapore to other regions of Southeast Asia that have expressed interest. Eventually, we could set up production lines anywhere in the world where there's sufficient infrastructure and the right distribution networks.

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Why did you manufacture the bikes for the India pilot in the US? Wouldn’t it have been better to make them in India?

We produced the 25 bikes for the India pilot at Stage 2 in Farmington Hills, Michigan as part of a project to build and test an optimal production line that could be replicated easily in other parts of the world. We’re now in the process of creating identical production lines at manufacturing facilities in India and Singapore, which will supply tens of thousands of bikes to India and other parts of Asia by the end of the year.

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How much electricity does Free Electric generate?

The amount of energy Free Electric 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 12-Volt battery that comes with the bike provides about 300 Watt-hours of electricity, and we estimate that the range of energy generation from easy pedaling to hard pedaling is about 50-200 Watts per hour. Each bike also comes with a kit that includes extension cords, and two 4-Watt LED light bulbs, each of which generates 400 lumens (equivalent to a 40-Watt incandescent bulb).

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How can I be involved with manufacturing and distribution?

We’re still in the process of creating production and distribution plans for the different regions in which we’ll be working, and we’ll announce any opportunities to be involved once those are in place.

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

We are currently developing a process to subtitle the film with different languages.

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

While Free Electric is made mostly from standard bicycle parts, it also contains quite a few custom-made features that require precise tooling. Because of our strict standards for product quality standards, it is important that we 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.

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Will you have pricing flexibility in other countries?

Our plan is for the price in each country to be set based on the actual costs to manufacture and distribute, as well as on market demand and ability to pay.

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I have an invention I’d like to share with Manoj. Here are the details, what does he think?

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 we receive 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 our team, we cannot promise a response to everyone who reaches out. Thank you for understanding.

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Can Manoj contribute to my cause?

We see a lot of great causes and ideas come in from around the world. Unfortunately, we have so many projects we’re working on already that we don’t have the capacity to take on anything new just now.

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What do you think of my suggested improvements to your inventions?

Our goal is always to find ways to make our inventions simpler, more efficient, and more useful. Please note that we receive an overwhelming number of suggestions from around the world every day. While we can assure that your message will be read by someone on our team, we cannot promise a response to everyone who reaches out. Thank you for understanding.

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How can I help in my local area?

If you haven’t already, please join us by signing up as a volunteer. While we’re working to perfect the inventions and create production and distribution plans, we’re trying to build a base of supporters that we can mobilize on the ground once we’re ready to scale the solutions.

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Are you planning any activities in my area?

Our Billions in Change road team is currently touring North America. You can check out the list of events on our Facebook page or on our website.

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Can you ensure that child labor isn’t being used in your factories?

We use strict and thorough vetting criteria to evaluate all organizations and companies with which we may work. We then coordinate with trusted on-the-ground partners to oversee all production and distribution activities.

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How can I volunteer with the pilot in India? Can I be part of the pilot program?

The India pilot is currently underway, and all field teams have been trained and staffed. As we move toward scaling with manufacturing and distribution, we will be sure to announce opportunities to get involved.

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

We think it’s an interesting idea. Setting up a gym with 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. This is something we’re currently looking into.

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What is the status of Limitless Energy?

We are still in the early stages of designing and testing the potential of graphene cords. We’ll make an announcement as soon as there is a newsworthy development.

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