“We just concentrate on things that can be incredibly useful,” explained Bharvaga. “If you come up with something cool that’s not, we don’t do it. I have no interest. I don’t want to be cool…Actually, I’m never going to be cool.”

Cool or not, some of Stage 2’s projects are impressively ambitious—setting their sights on ending the planet’s energy and clean water resource crisis.

Among Stage 2’s inventions is Free Electric, a bicycle-powered machine that can convert human mechanical energy to electricity. One hour of pedaling is transformed to 24 hours of electricity for off-grid areas of the world—enough to recharge a cellphone, light up a house or power an electric kettle—all without waste or utility bills. Next year, Bhargava plans to ship 10,000 of these free bikes to India, with initial pilot testing planned in the northern state of Uttarakhand before the nationwide roll-out.

Bharvaga is also investing heavily to develop graphene cables that might one day conduct heat from the core of the earth directly to the surface. Heat, after all, is energy, and could potentially end the need for oil rigs and nuclear energy plants. If he’s successful, Bhargava could provide a sustainable, round-the-clock energy solution long after the buzz of caffeine wears off.

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