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Serial Entrepreneur: HP Michelet (Part 4)

Posted on Wednesday, Feb 14th 2007

Many entrepreneurs struggle to fully understand their business environment. Here we see that HP has a very strong grasp on ERI, and how their technology impacts governments and social needs throughout the world. Discovery Channel called the PX the most significant engineering breakthrough that you will see in your lifetime.

SM: HP, what do you encounter from the government on the issues of global warming? Is the government sufficiently aware of the fact that the Sierra Nevada snow base water supply is drying up over the next few decades? HP: You ask them Sramana. I don’t know but we are on the verge of the breakthrough on the technological side of this.

When I drove by my house today. My neighbors already had sprinklers on their lawns. Usually you don’t see that until April or May. California is already into a drought. So I believe that rapid education will become a necessity. Necessity is the mother of all invention. Of course, we already have the invention ready, whenever they wake up.

That is another issue, because California historically has been on the edge in the development of desalination technologies. The whole membrane industry is located in San Diego and we have the PX coming out of the Bay area. But we mostly we do our business in exports. Desalination as such in the U.S isn’t new. But it’s a lot of brackish. If you go to Florida you see a lot of brackish plants.

SM: You won two years in a row the environmental exporter of the year award, right? HP: That’s correct. Last year we were awarded the environmental exporter of the year award by the Export Import Bank of the United States. This year we were awarded the same title but from the U.S. Department of Commerce. So of course that is a great boost in terms of visibility. I think people realize we contribute positively in an environmentally sound way to solve a lot of water issues around the world.

SM: I see. You showed me a video earlier where your innovation is described as the most significant engineering breakthrough that we will see in our lifetime. Desalination is a big problem. The fact that you are making it cost effective is a big issue because water is going to be a big issue in the next century. Can you elaborate on that? HP: Indeed. Those words are Discovery Channel’s words, not mine. Perhaps I should try to comment on that by putting it into two boxes. One is that by harnessing the energy component of converting seawater to fresh water you are solving in itself a lot of issues for millions around the world.

Five, six, seven years ago it was very difficult to fathom the importance of the PX. We realized that we were onto something, but, of course, now with all of these converging forces, it really stands out. So that is one piece of that comment.

The other thing is the pure simplicity of the device. It is also quite unique. We are operating here at extreme narrow tolerances that are not even visible to the human eye. But we are doing this in ceramics meaning we have no corrosion. When you are operating in a seawater environment corrosion is a very dangerous enemy.

But as I said, this is the comment of the Discovery Channel, but, I like it.

[Part 11]
[Part 10]
[Part 9]
[Part 8]
[Part 7]
[Part 6]
[Part 5]
[Part 4]
[Part 3]
[Part 2]
[Part 1]

This segment is part 4 in the series : Serial Entrepreneur: HP Michelet
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Sramana Mitra on Strategy » Blog Archive » Serial Entrepreneur: HP Michelet (Part 5) Friday, February 16, 2007 at 8:48 AM PT