Switched on to wireless power transmission
Greg Kushnir describes himself as a serial tech entrepreneur who has found his life’s mission. The founder and CEO of Emrod has plans to power the world wirelessly.
The science is proven, thanks in large part to Callaghan Innovation, and he has some big names like Airbus and the European Space Agency showing interest.
Emrod’s proprietary technology is known as power beaming – a system that transmits electricity over long distances wirelessly via electromagnetic waves. Kushnir says the key to the technology is that it’s safe, reliable, has minimal impact on the environment and the efficiency levels to make it commercially viable. It has, he says, the potential to decarbonise industries and accelerate the adoption of renewable energy.
“There is plenty of renewable energy around the world. We have plenty of oceans and winds and sunny places but it’s the ability to bring that renewable energy cost effectively to where it’s required that is something we are solving. “The end goal is a constellation of satellites relaying energy from where it is cost-effectively generated, to where it is required. This will cut through the geopolitics of fossil fuel and, for example, let the Europeans buy renewable energy from Kiwis who are not using it because it’s night time.”
In 2017 Kushnir approached Callaghan Innovation to undertake a feasibility study for his hypothesis. “It was a bit of a sanity check for me and a seal of approval that this was not science fiction – that it could be done, and should be done.
“Without Callaghan Innovation’s support, it wouldn’t have been feasible to advance this startup in New Zealand.”
The collaboration with Callaghan Innovation eventually saw the man who led the project – an expert in electromagnetics and microwave engineering – go on to be Emrod’s Chief Science Officer.
Without Callaghan Innovation's support, it wouldn't have been feasible to advance this startup in New Zealand."
Callaghan Innovation has also provided Emrod with significant grant funding since its inception, which has helped it towards securing patents and building a small prototype.
The next step for Emrod is a large-scale pilot project to demonstrate the potential of power beaming. While details remain confidential, Kushnir is eyeing powering a cell phone tower installation in Southeast Asia, which would reduce the need for lines and cables in densely forested areas; a remote indigenous community project in South America; and another one in the Middle East that he hopes will go ahead before the end of the year.
He is also passionate about using the technology in the Pacific where populations are overly reliant on diesel generators.
Kushnir says he has always been driven to make things better and Emrod is the pinnacle of that drive. He is changing how we think about energy movement, and doing it better.
Interestingly, he is also the perfect example of Sir Paul Callaghan’s vision for New Zealand as “a place where talent wants to live”. Kushnir was not born in New Zealand, but chose to live here. He loves it, but believes New Zealanders have a habit of underselling themselves internationally.
“We’re clipping our own wings. Part of my agenda is to support the transition to an IP-based economy here while also creating a stronger innovation community that gains the confidence and spotlight from big international corporates to feed that confidence.”
And along the way Emrod might just save the world.
At a glance
- Founded in 2019
- Founded by CEO Greg Kushnir
- Based in Auckland
- Commercialising power-beaming technology to enable long-range wireless energy transfer that is safe, reliable and cost effective
- 2022 valuation cap $45 million
- Visit website
Callaghan Innovation impact
- Science expertise to prove feasibility of power beaming
- Grant funding for patents and building small prototype