ARPA-E Energy Innovation Summit: Energized Inspiration

By Traver Kennedy, Chairman and CEO on March 17, 2016
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It’s not often that you come out of an industry conference energized. Yet this is how I felt coming out of the recent ARPA-E Energy Innovation Summit. The conference, now in its seventh year, hosted by the U.S. Department of Energy in Washington, D.C., and led by the new ARPA-E Director Dr. Ellen Williams, becomes a hub for innovative energy technologies for three days every year.

This year’s speakers (you can check the summit agenda here) included climate champions Al Gore, who explained the ROI of clean energy initiatives; the head of the World Bank, Dr. Jim Yong Kim, who shared his vision to end extreme poverty; and the CEO of Air Liquide’s Michael Graff, who spoke on realizing a grid of hydrogen fuel stations for cars. The underlying theme of the entire summit was focused on action, and here is where I’d like to share my takeaways with you.

Ending Extreme Poverty: The Vision of World Bank’s Director Dr. Jim Yong Kim

The ARPA-E Summit presentation that inspired me the most was that of Dr. Jim Yong Kim, Director of the World Bank, who shared their initiative to end extreme poverty. This influential international body recognizes the pivotal role energy plays in the daily lives of people everywhere.

Specifically, the World Bank is focusing on boosting prosperity for the bottom 40% people of the world. Dr. Kim calls it “shared prosperity.” The genius is they recognize clean and affordable energy as a lever to make this lofty goal happen. The World Bank is working to raise $40 billion to invest in non-carbon energy systems for the 70 poorest nations by 2020 so that they can benefit from COP21, the system of matching grants for clean energy initiatives set up at the Paris Innovation Forum last fall.

This promise is especially relevant when it comes from Dr. Kim. He has a track record of delivering transformative change for those who need it the most. As Director of the World Health Organization’s HIV/AIDS Department (from 2003 to 2005), he led the “3 by 5” initiative: the first-ever global goal for AIDS treatment, which helped to expand its reach in developing countries. The goal of ending extreme poverty could not be in better hands: Dr. Kim received a MacArthur “Genius” Fellowship, was recognized as one of America’s “25 Best Leaders” by U.S. News & World Report, and TIME Magazine named him among its “100 Most Influential People in the World” in 2006.

Dr. Kim’s plan has a solid foundation to make it viable. The funds will include a combination of matching grants and World Bank investment, which make interest-free money available to combat climate change right away and positively impact the lives of the poorest people on Earth. Dr. Kim gave the examples of successful clean energy initiatives in Pakistan and Peru where the costs per kilowatt fell dramatically, especially with distributed power. Finally, the World Bank’s recent shift in strategy makes it more agile and flexible when it comes to investing in crises—especially health and energy crises, which tend to affect the poor the most.

Ending extreme poverty: game on!

I left this fireside chat with Dr. Kim so energized because his vision is closely aligned to our own “Village Quality of Life” initiative to bring energy and water relief to developing economies. We believe that the work we are doing at Joi Scientific can help international organizations such as The World Bank achieve their goal of shared prosperity, which includes using energy to improve the lives of billions of people who have no access to power.

Ending extreme poverty is a challenge that international institutions like The World Bank, governments and innovative energy companies like ours and many others are set to win by working together.


We are working hard on our mission to expedite the world’s transition to clean and affordable hydrogen energy and make it available to all—especially in the developing world. To this end, we are working on a system of distributed hydrogen power—the type of system that visionary leaders like Dr. Kim recognize as the most practical way of bringing energy to those who need it the most. We call it Hydrogen 2.0.

Hydrogen 2.0 is the localized production of hydrogen energy at the point-of-use ―safely, affordably and with no carbon emissions. It is based on an efficient extraction technology to produce hydrogen gas from water on-demand, and on location so that people can have clean hydrogen energy (and water) where and when it is needed.

I am glad we were able to experience the innovative ideas and positive energy at this year’s ARPA-E Energy Innovation Summit. I left the conference energized and hopeful. The content and discussions were solid markers that indicate we are on the right path to realize a no-compromise energy future, available to all. Best of all, we have the company of visionaries in business, government, and international institutions to ensure this becomes a reality.

See how Hydrogen 2.0 can help get us there! Subscribe to our blog using the form below and receive our articles in your inbox every week. You can also get the basics on Hydrogen 2.0 by clicking here.

Photography courtesy of Silicon Valley entrepreneur and photographer Christopher Michel.


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As the Hydrogen 2.0 ecosystem gains momentum, we’ll be sharing our views and insights on the new Hydrogen 2.0 Economy. We also update our blog every week with insightful and current knowledge in this growing energy field.


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