Guest: John Shanahan
Guest Bio: John Shanahan, the co-founder of GenEon Technologies. They produce and develop this engineered water and we are also joined by Les Miles from GenEon Australia.
Segment Overview: For this segment, guests John Shanahan of GenEon Technologies and Les Miles from GenEon Australia explain their engineered water product and its benefits as we use it in cleaning. They offer an electrolysed water system that is both safe for both humans and animals. Listen to learn more about this.
Health Professional Radio
Katherine: Hello. Today we are talking about electrolysed water systems, that has been dubbed ‘the miracle liquid’ by its users. Today, we are lucky enough to be joined by John Shanahan, the co-founder of GenEon Technologies. They produce and develop this engineered water and we are also joined by Les Miles from GenEon Australia. Welcome.
John Shanahan: Thank you.
Les Miles: Good morning to you both.
Katherine: Now John, can you tell me exactly what is this electrolysed water?
John: It’s a wonderful technology that actually dates back to the 1860s and was invented by a British gentleman by the name of Michael Faraday. Faraday discovered that by passing low-voltage current through water and salt, that he could alter the water to make it more effective. Faraday’s work was reviewed by the British Academy of Sciences in 2006, years after his death, of course. And in 2006, the British Academy of Science verified all of his findings and elevated his status as a Lord in science because the science has stuck and has proven for more than 100 years.
Katherine: I see. What led you to develop this engineered water with GenEon?
John: Over the course of the last 50 years we have seen a dramatic increase in asthma and in autism and other issues from people. Chemistry and chemicals that we use for cleaning and killing germs are becoming more and more of a source of concern and irritant around the world, because we’re coming to learn that it’s harmful to the body to breathe in what some people might think of as the most benign chemicals, like glass cleaners.
When we looked at Faraday’s work, we realised that what we could do was engineer water in such a fashion that we could make water smarter, make it work harder, and make it an exceptional, reliable cleaner for cleaning heavy soils and glass and chrome. But we could also use a version of salt in water to create a very effective biocide to remediate germs in a way that isn’t poisonous or harmful to people.
Katherine: Right. I know it’s safe for people with dermatitis or eczema to use, but can we ingest this as well?
John: Well, it’s a great question. It’s actually part of us. Hypochlorous acid is in our white blood cells and it’s part of our body’s own natural immune system, and the world over, dentists use hypochlorous for rinsing the mouth. Because instead of putting a chemistry or a chemical in your mouth, it’s very, very safe to be used in dentistry and it’s used quite widely in wound remediation both in animals, so like fine raising horses to dairy farms, to sanitise the milking equipment. Because you can’t expose the cows to chemicals. So, it’s perfectly safe for use near people and animals.
Katherine: I see. How would you implement this type of system in the workplace? Is it easy to install? Or, how does it work?
John: Well, you know, it very much follows the path of evolution that computers did. Until very recently, this technology was the size of a large refrigerator and it was cumbersome and difficult. One of the things that we did at GenEon is we looked at the technology and we said ‘for it to be more practical, it has to be more portable and it has to be more intuitive to the user’.
So, it has to be somewhat familiar, easy to get a hold of. So we’ve taken the technology from the size of a very large household refrigerator and shrunken it to the size of an oversized briefcase, and taken away some of the complexity of the controls, much like computers did, and given it a very easy user interface. Two buttons to push and a small computer changes the water into the solutions that we need, either cleaner or disinfectant.
Katherine: I see. You have mentioned a few of the benefits of using the electrolysed water, but can you also mention … you can save money, can’t you? As a business, if you implement this, it’s quite sustainable. You have some savings as well?
John: Well, beyond just simply the chemical savings, if we look at when we talk about being sustainable in our environments today, one of the challenges is all of the containers that we wind up moving chemicals around in. Sadly, most people don’t recycle cleaning chemical containers, so the plastic bottles and jugs of glass cleaner and degreasers, and what winds up happening isthese become a source of greater pollutant.
Electrolysed water, or what we call engineered water, can actually be manufactured onsite for about 70% less than transporting the traditional chemistry and chemicals to someone’s home. Or in the case of schools and universities, this can mean tremendous savings and lower workmen’s compensation or workplace injuries due to chemistry, because engineered water isn’t harmful to people. They don’t get injured by using it.
Katherine: I see. Can you tell me a little bit about some industries that are already using this electrolysed water, especially the healthcare industry?
John: It is very interesting, is that hospitals and ambulance services are seeking ways today to deal with more and more complex germs and complex bacterias. Much like the struggle that hospitals have fought with the overuse of antibiotics, the same thing has happened with disinfectants. Because disinfectants are often not used properly by the user, they become less effective. The bugs, if you will, [inaudible 06:36] they’ve adapted. With hypochlorous acid the bugs can’t adapt, because they’re what are called low-leveloxidisers.
The germ drinks in the moisture from it and the oxidation that comes along with it winds up killing off the bacteria, whether it’s salmonella, E. coli, staph. MRSA is one of the bigger challenges in health care. GenEon, unlike chemical disinfectants, which can take up to 10 minutes to actually work, our hypochlorous solution can actually achieve the same level of kill in just 15 seconds in a solution that’s not going to take the colour out of your clothes or ruin the furniture in the room.
Katherine: Oh I see. What about the sanitisation? Is it enough that people in medical facilities can use it?
John: Yes, [inaudible 07:35] in a wide variety of ways. Hypochlorous is widely used in, as I was mentioning before, it’s widely used for people who have chronic wounds that won’t heal because [inaudible 07:47] use a very low concentration to be used on wounds or burns. On surface sanitation, the advantage for hospitals are that while it will kill like traditional bleaches or other disinfectants orsanitisers, the advantages is that this is a neutral pH.
So, where most of the things that we’ve used up until now are very corrosive and they’ll ruin a surface, this does not harm the hospital beds, the rails, the painted surfaces that medical equipment is made out of. So, it’s very much like a smart version of chlorine. It knows what to kill without harming the user.
Katherine: Wow, it does sound really much like the miracle liquid that it’s been called. Do you see that in the future, that beyond industry, that everyday people will have access to this smart water?
John: I do. You know, again, it’s very much becoming an approachable device and we’ve worked very, very hard to make it very, very familiar. So, in the past, these solutions, if they were cleaners, were just traditionally clear. So, the average citizen might struggle with that because when they go to the market, glass cleaner is traditionally blue. Well we’ve found a way to help them relate to the solution by making the product for glass and general purpose cleaning blue. So, it’s smart water but it looks like what you’re used to using in the past.
Katherine: Sounds good. You are available globally. You’re in a lot of markets around the world, aren’t you?
John: We’re very fortunate. Well, we’re based out of the US. We have full support across all of Canada and Latin America and through all of Australia, New Zealand, Asia, and now all of Europe. We’re just, if you will, getting our feet wet in the Middle East now, so we’re just starting there.
Katherine: Sounds good. This is a question for Les. Les, you represent the water in Australia. How have businesses has been embracing this electrolysed water?
Les: Okay, well first of all, Katherine, perhaps I should just reiterate one of the comments that John mentioned, in that the water has been used over here, electrolysed water, for over 40 years. Mainly it’s been used for cleaning food and also manufactured goods such as computer chips and medical devices. As John mentioned, that type of water was being generated by enormous pieces ofplant that cost a fortune and quite frankly, the cost of those devices was possibly a barrier to entry.
Until recently, that’s how the technology stood. In the last decade or so, smaller units have become available, which has allowed the technology to be used in more places. Some of the places that Australian listeners might recognise that actually use a version of the technology already, places like the Royal Children’s Hospital in Melbourne, Uniting Healthcare and Southern Health. Southern Health based, again, in Melbourne. Bupa, which is a large British-based company that does also operate here in Australia.
Then if we go to either ends of what might be termed a healthcare arena, you’ve got places like Regis Aged Care and Queensland Childcare. So, this miracle liquid is already being used. Our point of difference is that we have very small, portable units. We’ve successfully shrunken the technology to fit in more spaces. Maybe many people will relate to this, we’re kind of like that successful electronics company that moved into smaller premises.
Now, the use of GenEon here in Australia is somewhat limited. We’ve got some in hospitality, which are great. The users there love it. We basically have prototypes here since the end of last year, and we’ve been working with chosen users to this date with those devices to get feedback. The feedback is very, very positive, I have to say. We’re in that stage where we’re launching here in Australia with the portable unit and also a small wall mount, which just has shrunk technology to the point where any business, any surgery, is able to avail themselves of this technology that is effective and cost-effective.
Katherine: I see. Alright, well it sounds like this smart water is here to stay and it’s got great benefits to the community and also to health professionals. So thank you so much to both of you to talking to us today.
John: Thank you, Katherine.
Katherine: No problem. I’m Katherine for Health Professionals Radio. Thank you for listening.