Jobs, Musk...Mills? Every now and then, a revolutionary thinker imagines a future the rest of us can’t, or in the case of Randell Mills, imagines technology that defies the laws of quantum mechanics. Initially mocked, Jobs retains a godlike status, even posthumously. And Musk, well, he’s proved skeptics wrong for years, and yet his talk of Hyperloop Pods traveling at hundreds of miles per hour under the streets of L.A. seems like fantasy to many.
If there is one thing I’ve learned from working for and alongside hundreds of entrepreneurs over the last two decades it is this: pay attention to big thinkers whose ideas presently seem unimaginable, especially when these thinkers are determined to transform the world.
Give me the chance to connect with them personally, and I’m all in.
Not without his own skeptics, I recently had the chance to sit down with Mills and hear about his latest invention, the Sun Cell, which promises to bring clean and cheap energy to the world. As we chatted, I found myself imagining the possibilities and the potential. Lifting millions from poverty? Check. Tackling climate change. Check again.
Mills says the SunCell works by generating electricity with hydrogen being converted to dark matter by using water in the air, and the reaction packs 200 times the energy of burning conventional gasoline. Sound too good to be true? Well, Mills is betting SunCell will soon be commercialized, and strategic investors are backing that bet. Brilliant Light Power (which Mills founded in 1991), has raised $120M to date and has recently completed a $20M funding round.
Imagine living in a world where the grid does not exist and where everyone has access to power, no matter who you are or what part of the world you live. That would be something else.
Rebekah Iliff: Do you consider yourself an inventor, an innovator, an entrepreneur, a social entrepreneur, or a futurist?
Randell Mills: All of the above. To do what I do, you not only need to be an inventor and a theorist but also have a firm comprehension of how to make things work in practice. When your goal is nothing less than delivering a power source greater than fire, your only choice is to be multi-faceted. Otherwise, you’re just making incremental improvements, not holistic leaps forward. High-energy dark-matter power as a business seems totally impractical. It is barely fathomable, so you’ve got to tackle theory, innovation, invention, and practical business simultaneously.
RI: You are a trained medical doctor. Why did you choose to focus on energy?
RM: If you look broadly at science and technology, one thing is ultimately connected to another, and energy just naturally called to me. In fact, I’ve invented in a number of different areas, including hydrogen energy technology, computational chemical design, magnetic resonance imaging, drug delivery, artificial intelligence and more. But there’s really no better opportunity to work on something that could be so profoundly disruptive.
“The ramifications of bringing cheap and clean energy to the world are transformational. Ultimately, I’m working to change our perception of the universe. So instead of having tunnel vision into a single aspect of quantum theory, I had to become a cross disciplinarian.” - Dr. Randell Mills
RI: Explain the SunCell for dummies.
RM: It’s a massive lightbulb that is on 24/7 and produces cheap and clean energy from the hydrogen atoms of water. It’s lit by a reaction between of hydrogen of water molecules to dark matter using the humidity in the air as the water source. It’s over 1000 times as powerful as high-octane gasoline, and the power is directly converted to electricity using photovoltaic cells.
RI: What does the world look like when you’ve commercialized the SunCell?
RM: Everything will be powered by the SunCell. Solar, wind, bio fuels, and nuclear will all be replaced. The grid will be unnecessary. Utilities will be unnecessary. There would be no pollution and limited energy regulation. As the SunCell is fully autonomous, energy delivery becomes impervious to disruption from war, terror, and natural disaster. Importantly, underdeveloped countries will have the same potential lifestyle and productivity as the developed world. Each SunCell could also serve as a self-powered, autonomous node in a mesh network that could replace the Internet.
RI: How would it impact jobs?
RM: Jobs are created by wealth. If you have something that encourages productivity, then there will be jobs. The SunCell encourages productivity by leveling and equally distributing the energy playing field for virtually anyone, anywhere. There is literature about GDP and energy dependency, and it’s very revealing in terms of how dependent we are on power.
RI: I know a lot of folks at your level would let ego get in the way. How do you stay grounded?
RM: My background is helpful. I didn’t come from the Ivy League. Most people in my life were not Harvard or MIT graduates. They weren’t captains of industry. They were honest and worked hard. I grew up on a farm in Cochranville, Pennsylvania, where life was very challenging and humbling. You earned an appreciation for dangerous equipment at an early age. I’ve interacted with all types of people from every stature in life, and I’ve always maintained that simple farmer’s perspective.
RI: What is your PR strategy around this? How do you plan on shifting the public opinion enough to override business as usual?
RM: We have a multi-pronged approach. We’re introducing state-of-the-art theory, science, and technology that astonishes experts with quantifiable and verifiable results in multiple scientific and technological fields, and we are building a machine with a story behind it that blows everyone else away. Within a couple months we should be ready to show its commercial potential.
RI: Any parting thoughts you’d like to share?
RM: I think the next “age” is an age where mankind has a manual of the universe and knows exactly how the universe works. We then begin to create previously unimaginable inventions by applying this manual and the newly discovered laws that come along with it. The next big future is the physical age.
“Practically speaking, I think that beyond SunCell, visionaries like Elon Musk will introduce entirely new technologies that people haven’t even conceived of. The pace will only increase in the coming years, as we will see similar types of disruptive and enabling technologies come to market.” - Dr. Randell Mills