Open Sesame

Open Sesame
Published on
May 15, 2023

Natural disasters — hurricanes, wildfires, floods and more — happen five times more often than they did 50 years ago. These disasters pose significant threats to critical infrastructure and human health and safety, which cost the U.S. $145 billion in 2021.

When severe weather events damage or destroy electrical grids, they are traditionally replaced by fossil fuel-powered generators which provide energy, but are problematic. First, these generators are heavy emitters (over 100 megatons of carbon dioxide released annually) and secondly, they’re dangerous for humans as they release toxic pollutants close to homes and businesses.

Enter Sesame Solar’s “Nanogrid” — an off-grid, 100 percent renewable energy-powered mobile system. The Nanogrid, which resembles a construction trailer, uses solar arrays and green hydrogen to produce up to 20 kilowatts per hour – enough to power four to six houses for weeks at a time – and has battery storage up to 150 kWh. The Nanogrid can deliver up to 500 liters of potable water daily (enough for 250 people) through its water filtration system. Once the unit makes it to the emergency site (hauled by a truck), it’s operational within 15 minutes.  

The startup aims to pioneer a new subscription business model called Mobile, Renewable Power as a Service (MRPaaS), which allows customers to have the system on a need-only basis. Depending on the Nanogrid model, the cost per system ranges between $100,000 to $400,000. However, the Nanogrids qualify for 30 percent tax credits/direct payments per the Inflation Reduction Act and up to 50 percent if deployed in disadvantaged communities or tribal nations.

The startup was founded in 2017 and has raised $2 million in seed funding. Current customers include the U.S. Air Force and the Ministry of Public Health for Dominica.

The article written by Jake Mitchell was published in the Climate Tech Rundown newsletter by Greenbiz on May 15, 2023.

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