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  • Siddharth Pannir

GenH featured on Boston Globe Article

You could say GenH — the next-gen hydroelectric technology company — began with a conversation about the Middle Ages.

Northeastern grad student Siddharth Pannir and V Squared Wind CEO and CTO Rob Freda, bonded over a 2016 chat about how smaller cannons were mobile and thus could be positioned more effectively. That ignited their own battle against a massive and growing enemy — climate change.

Pannir devoted his master’s thesis at Northeastern’s Gordon Engineering Leadership program to designing and testing a prototype for a mobile dam electrification system.

The final product will provide electricity via water — hydropower — on-site where needed and at competitive prices to fossil fuels.

The two researchers and Jon Swanson, a Suffolk, MA, business developer, incorporated GenH in April 2018.

Soon after, they won a $450,000 award from CalSEED (California Sustainable Energy Entrepreneur Development). Equally vital, they earned acceptance in Cleantech Open’s accelerator program, which has armed them with business knowledge.

In all, GenH has amassed $726,000 in awards and grants, including $65,000 from Massachusetts Clean Energy Center (MassCEC)’s Catalyst program.

“They’ve allowed us to go from a very basic prototype in my backyard to simulating an actual working dam,” Pannir says. “I never realized the powerful ecosystem Boston has to help clean energy entrepreneurs.”

Startups are painful, he says, but he predicts GenH’s hunger will take them to the final steps. “I draw on Herman Hesse’s Siddhartha, which says ‘I can think. I can wait. I can fast.’ The startup founders who make it are those with infinite patience and who can go on a ‘diet’ at a moment’s notice and stay on it for a while.”

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