a Green Solution
Brandon Ng’s Hong Kong-based startup is powering an emissions-free future for the construction industry.
Progress requires power, but how can we ensure that this progress is powered responsibly and sustainably? That’s the question Brandon Ng set out to answer when he co-founded Ampd Energy in 2014.
His Hong Kong-based startup is dedicated to decarbonizing the construction industry, which accounts for 11% of global carbon emissions. And with urbanization accelerating at breakneck speed – close to 70% of the global population is projected to live in urban cities by 2050 – it’s become more important than ever to construct housing, buildings and other infrastructure sustainably. That’s why Ampd Energy developed a battery energy storage system to replace the diesel generators traditionally used at construction sites. Essentially a giant lithium-ion battery – similar to the type used in electric vehicles – Ampd Energy’s ‘Enertainer’ provides enough power for large-scale building projects without the harmful emissions.
An Electrifying Solution
Originally from Brunei, Ng worked in the banking industry in London until he realized his calling lay elsewhere. “I felt that I wanted more, to solve big problems that make an impact in the real world,” says Ng.
He returned to Asia in search of new opportunities and a greater sense of purpose. While living in Beijing, the e-motorbike boom sparked his interest in the business potential for the wider application of lithium-ion batteries. Wanting to develop a product for the global market, Ng and his business partner took their business idea to Hong Kong. Not only is the city close to the supply chain in the south of Mainland China, where a lot of the materials needed to create the batteries are sourced, to Ng it was also the perfect place to launch a business due to its status as a buzzing international hub.
At a tech conference organized by a multinational law firm, he met a senior executive from a major construction company who took an interest in Ampd Energy and challenged the startup to create a clean energy solution for the industry that could replace diesel generators.
As an incubatee of the Hong Kong Science and Technology Parks Corporation (HKSTP), Ampd Energy had access to resources needed to tackle this challenge in earnest. Leveraging the HKSTP’s world-class facilities, financial support and its community of founders and mentors, the startup was able to develop the world’s first energy storage system designed specifically for construction usage.
Its flagship Enertainer batteries are currently being used in over 70 major construction projects in Hong Kong, helping to build retail and residential spaces, as well as public buildings such as hospitals. One large-scale project it is currently powering is a public housing project at the Anderson Road Quarry site in East Kowloon.
We have been incorporating Ampd Energy’s Enertainer into our projects and this has enabled us to avoid over 1,080 metric tons of CO2 while simultaneously eliminating diesel fumes, reducing noise levels and improving productivity.Adrian Lo, Director of Corporate Development, SOCAM Development Limited
The current deployed fleet of Enertainer batteries has already helped the construction industry reduce 13,000 metric tons of CO2 emissions per year, but there’s potential to reduce up to 195,000 metric tons annually, Ng says. Aside from having less negative impact on the environment, the batteries are also quieter, safer, and more cost-effective in the long run than diesel generators.
Getting plugged-in in Hong Kong
While Ampd Energy’s vision is to provide clean energy to construction projects all over the globe – it already operates in Singapore and Australia and is looking to expand to the UK and Europe – it made sense for the startup to establish its base in Hong Kong, Ng says, because of how welcoming the city is to new business ventures.
“Hong Kong makes starting companies really easy,” he says, adding that the city frees entrepreneurs of a lot of the usual bureaucratic and administrative considerations so they can focus on building their companies and offerings.
A lot of ideas can be tested in Hong Kong, and a lot of new products can be tested. So it’s a very interesting and very safe sandbox.Brandon Ng, Founder of Ampd Energy
Aside from business-support initiatives from entities such as the HKSTP that fuel impact-making innovations, Hong Kong has also made ample efforts to help different industries meet the city’s carbon neutrality target before 2050. Ng points to the government’s Construction Innovation and Technology Fund as being particularly successful in encouraging the usually risk-averse industry to embrace new technologies, especially ones that lead to a cleaner and safer future. The HK$1 billion (about US$128 million) fund supports manpower development so that construction industry practitioners can better harness new innovations.
By prioritizing better building practices, Hong Kong has laid a sound foundation for more sustainable developments, Ng says. “Everyone’s got to do their part to bring down [emissions]. And construction has a major role to play there.”