This Hong Kong Entrepreneur Is Making Construction More Sustainable. Here’s How
Brandon Ng’s startup Ampd Energy is making construction more sustainable with its battery-powered solutions, providing clean energy for Hong Kong’s power-hungry construction sites
Construction sites look different around the world, but they all sound exactly the same—the loud, noxious hum of diesel generators reverberating among the concrete walls.
From the floodlights to the tallest cranes, construction worldwide is powered by diesel fumes.
Enter Brandon Ng and the Enertainer, an energy storage system the size of a small shipping container that holds up to 27,000 lithium ion battery cells, enough to power up to 15 homes or one major construction site, removing the need for diesel generators.
“The hyper-urbanisation of humanity over the next 40 years means the world will be building the equivalent of a new Paris every week—and we need to find a greener way to do that,” says Ng, who is co-founder and CEO of Ampd Energy, the Hong Kong-based startup behind the Enertainer.
Every Enertainer deployed has the same impact on air pollution as removing 300 cars from the city’s roads, says Ng. “If every one of Hong Kong’s 4,000 diesel-powered construction sites switched to clean energy, it would be the equivalent of removing 1.2 million cars from the city’s roads,” he says. The total number of cars currently in Hong Kong? Only 600,000.
“I’ve felt since the early 2010s that energy storage is one of the final frontiers of innovation for energy, and would completely change the way energy is used all around the world,” he says.
It’s certainly starting to change the way energy is used in Hong Kong construction. Ampd Energy’s Enertainer units now power more than 70 major construction sites across the city. Next up is expansion to new markets in Asia. Indeed, Ampd Energy’s impact potential was global from day-one, with Ng choosing to locate his company in Hong Kong because of the city’s “global outlook”.
Hong Kong’s strong talent pipeline and history of innovation was also a factor. Ng says that to foster the culture of innovation he needed in his team, he simply let it flourish naturally. “The first thing to do is to not put yourself on a pedestal, because you become inaccessible and people become afraid to voice their opinions,” says Ng. “You need to understand that you’re just another employee in your company, in pursuit of the same vision that you’re all pursuing.”
Clean energy has been Ng’s driving force the last decade, but only now, he says, is the world catching up, with Covid-19 changing our priorities and focusing the world’s attention on building a greener “new normal” post-pandemic.
“Covid has made us realise that a lot of our existing infrastructure is weak. We need to modernise and build back better, but do that sustainably,” says Ng. “That’s where Ampd comes in. We take infrastructure for granted because it’s not glamorous, but it’s so important—really it's the backbone of modern civilisation.”
Innovation Starts Here is a year-long celebration of Hong Kong innovation initiated by Hong Kong Science and Technology Parks Corporation (HKSTP), to mark its 20th anniversary in 2022. The campaign showcases how HKSTP harnesses the innate spirit of natural ingenuity that lives inside Hong Kong, redefining I&T in the city and the world.