The Growing Interconnection Between the Way Governments and Society Use Energy

By Vicky Harris, Vice President Marketing on June 21, 2016
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A Guest Interview with Ron Haeckel

This week, we talk about energy with Joi Scientific advisor Ron Haeckel, a retired United States Air Force Brigadier General and former Director of Nuclear Defense Programs. Ron has over 30 years’ experience in space and nuclear missile operations with the U.S. Department of Defense (DoD) and the Department of Energy (DoE).

He provides valuable insights into the current and ongoing issues faced by governments and defense ministries across the globe, shedding light on what is fast becoming the norm for doing business in government. “The way energy is produced and used is converging as the energy requirements for defense and government, driven more and more by market forces, move closer to those of society as a whole.”

Ron reflects on how Hydrogen 2.0 technology can contribute to those energy production systems that are going to be used by a commonality of people in different countries across the globe. He closes his remarks with the environment in mind, explaining how economic pressures will be the catalyst for the adoption of clean energy, “but the growing pressures from society to do the right thing is going to finally push us over the top.”

The Interview

Vicky Harris, Vice President of Marketing at Joi Scientific, sat with Ron last week—here’s the interview.

  • Tell us a little about yourself and your time in the Air Force.

I served in the United States Air Force for 28 years; half of that time was spent commanding different units around the country. I have a bachelor’s degree in mathematics and a master’s degree in business administration. Since I retired from the Air Force in 2005, I have worked as a consultant for nuclear, computer, and energy issues and as a private contractor for the U.S. government with both the Air Force and the Department of Energy. For the last six years, I have been teaching mathematics and business at the University of Colorado, Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University, and Pikes Peak Community College.

  • What led you to Joi Scientific?

A couple of years ago, I reconnected with a childhood friend from high school, Rob Koeneman, Joi Scientific’s President and Sr. Vice President of Technology. His excitement about Hydrogen 2.0 was contagious, and he introduced me to the founding team. I was hooked after I saw their transformative work to make hydrogen fuel available everywhere. I have been involved as a business advisor to the company ever since.

  • What exactly did you see at Joi Scientific that got you “hooked”?

Three things, actually. The first was the leadership of the company. I personally know the integrity of the executive leadership at Joi Scientific, so at a very baseline level, I think it is a company that can be trusted to develop innovative products and technology that will enhance our society. The second thing was the product itself. Hydrogen makes perfect sense for a clean and viable energy future to me—especially coming from my background with the Department of Energy. Third, was the core technology. Joi Scientific’s approach to Hydrogen 2.0 is particularly fascinating—including the extensive innovations that they have pursued to make it available as a fuel and the cutting edge technology that assures efficient production across a wide variety of hydrogen applications.

  • What role do you see Hydrogen 2.0 playing in defense or government?

With Hydrogen 2.0, Joi Scientific is creating safe, affordable and clean hydrogen, which the different sectors of society can use to power their applications. I believe the way energy is produced and used in the future will converge as the energy requirements for defense and government, driven more and more by market forces, move closer to those of society as a whole.

These days, government and defense sectors cannot afford the many specialized energy point products that they have in the past. Instead, they are looking for financially compelling solutions that solve real budgetary problems. Specifically, governments and militaries are ultimately going to rely on virtually the same core technologies that the rest of society uses. If we have a product and a core technology that can answer those needs, then I think we have a winner. The Hydrogen 2.0 technology that Joi Scientific is working on can contribute significantly to those power production systems that are going to be used by a commonality of people in different countries across the globe.

  • Tell us a bit more about this relationship between market forces and homogeneity.

If you have a specific and critical need, no matter what sector you are in, you want products that are cost-efficient, yet they must also be effective. If a product does not answer a given sector’s specific needs, then their mission or business is doomed to fail because they cannot produce exactly what is needed at a cost that reflects the market. So any product has to be both effective and efficient. This is especially true and important for governments and defense departments, as aspects of their needs become more similar to those of the commercial and wider societal spheres, as time goes on.

  • You’ve worked with a variety of energy technologies, including nuclear at the DoE; how do they relate to Hydrogen 2.0?

My past association with the Department of Energy helps me to recognize the great contribution that Hydrogen 2.0 can make around the world, especially in the United States, where we like to have multiple energy alternatives to avoid dependency on any one form of energy. Even if we are more dependent on one form of energy or another at times, we are always looking forward to other solutions that will satisfy future economic and environmental needs. We’ve had a vast portfolio of energy sources in the past, like carbon or nuclear, that enables us to understand the issues with them and foresee the way to solve them. For instance, carbon-based energies are contributing to a global greenhouse effect, and nuclear-based energies, while they are more efficient and cost effective, present safety concerns that contribute to very high infrastructure costs. As such, if we want to look at better and smarter ways of acquiring energy, we cannot ignore innovative solutions like Hydrogen 2.0, which shows great potential for high efficiency, cost-effectiveness, and safety. So, I am excited about Hydrogen 2.0 as an alternative energy, and I believe we should continue to work on ways it can be used to fuel different types of social and government needs.

  • Do you see governments being driven towards environmental innovation by more acute political pressure?

I think there’s pressure on both sides. Society pushes governments to make smart energy decisions; people ensure they are represented in governments that take their concerns seriously. Although this is dependent on a country’s political structure, every day environmentalism is being taken more seriously in more countries around the world. This makes it a global and pressing issue that is forcing governments to operate in more sustainable ways. We can see this through the recent signing of the Paris Agreement with more than 170 countries declaring their commitment to move towards more environmentally friendly energy production. Initially, the financial aspect will have the biggest impact since many governments can no longer afford to build their own production systems to cover their own specific uses. We live in an increasingly interconnected world, and the environment knows no borders. I think the economic pressures will be the catalyst, but the growing pressures from society to do the right thing is going to finally push us over the top.

About Ron Haeckel

Ron Haeckel is a business advisor for Joi Scientific. He’s a retired United States Air Force Brigadier General with over 30 years’ experience in space and nuclear missile operations with the U.S. Department of Defense (DoD) and the Department of Energy (DoE), where he managed a budget of $6.4 billion and assets of $30 billion as the Director of Nuclear Defense Programs. You can read more about his background here.

 

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Stay in the know.

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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