When you believe in yourself, the sky is the limit.
I am Sonya Davidson. I am a life-long learner. I hold five academic degrees, and I am still studying and learning, but that is critical in today’s ever-changing technology. For example, I recently attended the Microsoft Tech Summit: building your cloud skills with the latest in Azure in Tel Aviv.
As the founder & CEO of H2 Energy Now, a Beer Sheva-based company focused on renewable energy storage by the disassociation of the water molecule through electromagnetic waves, I’ve emphasized through my leadership that perseverance, determination, and vision are critical to our success.
H2 Energy Now has developed the most efficient and cost-effective way of creating hydrogen. H2 Energy Now allows householders and commercial premises to store Alternative Energy effectively, 24 hours a day, by separating water into hydrogen and oxygen.
Our PCT process separates the water molecule through the use of radio waves, a new application to an existing technology. Our company’s goal is to change the world. We are going to do that by enabling 24/7 use of alternative energy. We are going to achieve this by products for energy storage.
It has been a fun and challenging voyage starting a company. Through the process, I have assembled a team of advisors, and mentors, frequently interacted with our customers, and developed and built prototypes, often on my kitchen table.
After developing and iterating on the initial prototypes, I reached the proof of principle prototype stage, attended and graduated from an intense 6-month accelerator, filled our Intellectual Property, and now, we are presently commercializing the technology. I am actively presenting our renewable energy solution to potential customers from all over the world.
As of June 2017, we have performed over 217 product development steps. We are determined.
One of the lessons I learned over time is the importance of words. Yes, words.
Communication is key.
Your choice of words in explaining your company and mission, often described in as little as 30 seconds to 5-minute pitches, is vital.
I have also learned that it is not my perspective or knowledge that matter, but the audience’s understanding.
To strengthen this integral skill, I have taken and continue to take many classes.
I choose to attend a 6-month intensive accelerator on Sunday, Tuesday, and Thursday, and since I don’t have a car, that meant waking up at 5 AM to catch a 6:10 AM bus to the city of Ashdod. If I missed this bus, the next would not arrive until 10 AM, meaning I would not arrive until 12 PM. It made sense to make these kinds of sacrifices to place myself and company in a place to succeed. I was also, by default, always the first one there, and always on time.
A friend said women must be leaders when they are breaking new ground.
To be leader means having a long-term perspective, listening more than you talk, learning from the situations we place ourselves in, and learning something from everyone we meet.
I have a philosophy which works great for a female-owned start-up.
We constantly apply to competitions, and write the best application we can, often against 5,000 to over 10,000 competitors. If they accept us, great! If they don’t, we still won because we believed in ourselves.
We presented in NYC as part of the Israel Meets NYC contest. We were selected as one of Europe’s Top Sustainable Entrepreneurs for 2016. We also made the finals in several other competitions across Europe and Israel.
We were also just in Toulouse, France in September 2017 presenting as part of the Technical Solutions for Worlds Environmental Challenges sponsored by Airbus Accelerator. The international challenge was highly competitive. Only 10 were companies chosen to present from over 6,000 applicants from all over the world. I got into a winner’s mindset, and spent time familiarizing myself with Toulouse by learning all I could about the city and visiting the museums.
Although there are lulls, being an entrepreneur means riding on top the wave at times too.
The High-Temperature Grant Challenge was focused on resolving a problem that a utility company was having. They had a room in which the temperature exceeded 500°C, and they needed to find a safe and effective inspection method. Before the challenge, they shut down the generators, and cut a hole in the ceiling to drop a person in (with protective clothing).
We were the first female winner from Israel to become a 2017 Grand Challenge grant winner.
Currently, we are in 3 challenges to apply our technology to aerospace solutions. We are working with NASA to develop these applications. The applications include utilizing our technology for energy storage solutions in space, drones for access to challenging environments, and with other forms of life other than water.
Another challenge we are taking part in is with a solar renewable energy company to clear dirt off of solar panels.
I don’t have a TV, which gives me the time to pursue so many competitions.
Einstein’s Thought Experiments
As we were developing our technology, we realized we could modify the structural arrangement of water in our disassociation chamber. I had just finished reading Einstein in Berlin by Thomas Levenson. In this book, he outlined an effective tool called thought experiments.
I adopted this tool in solving our water arrangement problem for identifying a highly efficient design.
First, I visualized water in space, where it forms a perfect, spherical ball. This is part of the solution, but I did not want to take my product to space yet.
Next, I increased the pressure, and visualized the water occupying only half the space. This was not helpful in our technology, because even though it created higher pressure hydrogen gas, it also increased water’s ability to share energy, therefore decreasing its efficiency.
I then left those visualizations in my mind, and thought deeply about the problem we are trying to solve.
Then, one Friday night, after a wonderful meal walking home, I realized the solution.
I remembered seeing a spider web with droplets on it after the rain.
Droplets increase the efficiency because it prevents water from sharing energy, resulting in a more efficient arrangement to separate the water molecule. For our technology, we use plastic to create the spider web, and spray the water into our disassociation chamber.
One of the things I feel that makes me successful is giving back.
I have presented to university students at an accelerator in Tel Aviv. Another way is mentoring. I ask my fellow entrepreneurs about their challenges, and help them develop effective solutions to these challenges. I also spend time every Friday talking with a 102-year-old woman. She helps me focus on what is important in life, and shows me insights into my week. We are not related, but we are great friends.