When we buy a book the author receives a royalty. The web has established a system where readers can access a huge amount of valuable material for the price of an internet connection. This is great and is boosting the progress of humanity but some authors need an income. Typically they turn to book publishing or submitting their material to periodicals that pay. I could do that but that would take time away from my main passion and talent which is developing clean technology. I am therefore asking readers who feel like it to donate to say thank you for the read and to save me having to publish. It will also encourage me to write more.
My underlying reason for asking for money is to develop clean energy products. I would rather offer you shares in my company but UK law makes that a very expensive and time consuming process. I could offer my ideas to a venture capitalist (VC) but I have seen first hand what can go wrong if the inventor does not stay in control of the development of their ideas. Crowd funding does 2 things. It allows me to preserve the purity of my vision. It also gives you an alternative way to invest in a low carbon, low pollution future. I hope my writing will convince you that I have the vision and capability to make a difference.
I am working on easier payment systems but for the moment please contact me about sending a cheque by Email to .
For those who want a bit more convincing here are some more thoughts. If I just wanted money I would have stayed in the fuel cell field. It is booming and I know enough about it to get a top job doing interesting work. I want to make the most valuable contribution I can and the best way forward seems to be to pursue the amazing ideas I have had about wind and wave energy and energy storage.
My concern about inventors staying in control of the company set up to manufacture their invention is based on a number of real examples. The inventors of the compact mixed reactant fuel cell were forced out of their company while I was consulting for it. I saw first hand many of the dirty tricks played on the inventors because they were not in full control.
Stan Ovshinsky, one of the inventors of the Nickel metal hydride battery, was forced out of the company set up to make them, as explained in; http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Patent_encumbrance_of_large_automotive_NiMH_batteries and http://www.agnimotors.com/home/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=30&Itemid=66 tells how the same thing happened to Cedric Lynch who invented an outstandingly powerful electric motor.
The problem people in my position have (and I know several) is that the funding that is supposed to promote new low carbon technology is funnelled into channels that are very difficult for us to access. The main body in the UK for this is the Carbon Trust. The difficulty is that getting funding from them can take 9 months of filling in forms, and chasing up matched funders who will want to take over most of your company.
The local development agencies also have funds to help but again the barriers are frustratingly large. The low carbon vouchers offered at www.i10.org.uk/lowcarbon are an example of the type of issue I am talking about. If your application is accepted you will get £1000 which you can use to buy 2 days of consultancy from a university. This sort of thing is frustrating for me because first of all I would have to spend 2 days getting all the forms filled out. If successful I would then have to spend more time finding an academic who actually knew enough about my subject to be useful. i10 would help here but it would still take some of my time. Then the chosen academic would be paid £500 per day while I receive nothing. As an experienced academic prepared to work on meaningful projects for far less than that there is very little chance that this scheme would be more cost effective than giving me the £1000 in the first place to spend as I see fit.
I just wish low carbon schemes could get start-up funding more easily. The government is so scared of being accused of giving away money to undeserving requests that it ends up making the situation worse. I suspect more money is spent preparing and filtering requests for funds than is spent on the projects that finally get funded. I went to a workshop about the European Framework 7 funding scheme. Representatives from 3 enterprises looking for money attended but we were listening to around a dozen people from different funding bodies! One of the first things we heard is that to get FW7 funds it would require something like a man year of work for application preparation!
Excuse me for ranting but the system is sick and if we do not fix it soon we will all fry in the coming global warming (GW) catastrophe. I have just been learning about the planned Carbon Reduction Commitment (CRC) regulations. What a nightmare! No wonder people are getting sick of hearing about GW and how the authorities are dealing with it by becoming ever more like Big Brother.
The WWF has found that large companies are preferentially
consulted about global ecological issues but that the advice received
is frequently biased by the agenda of those companies. The conclusion
from their studies is that a great deal of innovation is needed to
solve the problems we face and that historically that type of
innovation has come from people working in Universities, or alone, or
in small companies. http://www.panda.org/wwf_news/news/?uNewsID=160842
The type of person who thinks up clever new ways to solve old problems is not the sort of person who can easily handle the office politics that dominates large companies.
The topics discussed above are brilliantly summed up in http://inventors.about.com/library/weekly/aa051897.htm
The solution could be so simple. First impose a world-wide gradually increasing carbon tax. Second fund anyone or anything with a good idea. Give them a little money first and see if they can meet their targets. If they meet these targets give them more money in time to ensure there is never a gap. Gradually ramp up the funding as the targets of previous stages are met. If the targets are not met, stop funding.
Until we get such an enlightened scheme in place it seems to me the best alternative is crowd funding. If you know better please do let me know.
For more about my vision have a look at my charity essay.
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