NASADYA solves the problem of variability management in the energy grid for power plants by converting excess energy into hydrogen & oxygen.

Photo of Khadeeja Malik Soderstrom
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Please confirm you meet the following criteria

  • We have submitted the supplemental form linked in the description above
  • We are aged between 14 - 20 as of February 11, 2021
  • We live in the United States or its territories (Puerto Rico, U.S. Virgin Islands, Guam, Northern Mariana Islands, and American Samoa)
  • We are not employed by, or directly related (parents or siblings) to a current General Motors (GM) or Ashoka employee
  • We have been working on this project for at least three months
  • We consent to Ashoka and/or GM featuring our work on their website, social media, and in other materials regarding this Challenge using the information in our application
  • We confirm we have the rights to use and share any content uploaded on this entry form

Date You Started Your Project


Project Stage: Select the description below that best applies to your approach.

  • Start-Up (first few activities have happened)

1. The Problem: What problem are you helping to solve?

Power plants are required to overproduce energy in order to match variable demand but end up wasting money on excess energy disposal. Our technology will convert this excess electricity into hydrogen and oxygen to help energy companies manage variability in the grid. Our passionate team will enable power producers to save money and cut carbon emissions while allowing us to sell increasingly valuable, zero-emission hydrogen & oxygen.

2. Your Solution: How are you planning to solve this problem? Share your specific approach.

We are building power systems that would take excess energy from the power plants and convert that into profitable co-products, green hydrogen and oxygen. We have developed a proprietary ‘natural compression’ system that makes it economical to use fuel cells, the carbon-free production process of hydrogen and oxygen generation. We have developed a proprietary natural compression system that makes it economic to use the carbon-free production process of hydrogen and oxygen generation. As compression accounts for 65% of the cost of making Hydrogen, our natural compression system decreases the cost of production by 50%. We have developed a proof of concept where we tested the core hypothesis behind natural compression. Following the NASA Technology Readiness Level (TRL) our next goal is to reach TRL level 4, which is along the lines of a lab- scale prototype.

3. Please tell us how you are using science, technology, engineering or math to address your environmental challenge.

In our product development timeline, we have developed a proof of concept where we tested the core hypothesis behind natural compression. Following the NASA Technology Readiness Level (TRL) our next goal is to reach TRL level 4, which is along the lines of a lab-scale prototype. Being undergraduate students, we identify the level of our technical understanding, and that’s why natural compression is not born from the invention of a new polymer or membrane. Instead, it is a system integration of technologies that are already well developed. This not only brings down the huge barriers usually faced by a deep-tech hardware venture but also shorten our product development timeline.

4. Personal Journey: What’s the story behind why you decided to start this project?

Having witnessed firsthand how a huge disparity in access to energy can limit access to opportunities and a chance at an improved life, it's my life goal to develop energy systems that ensure clean, sustainable energy for all. Moreover, I feel clean and sustainable energy access is the most important problem I need to solve in order to pursue my vision of creating a society that is driven by passion. After identifying excess energy from variability in the grid as a huge problem, I launched a startup called NASADYA, with the mission to convert excess electricity into green hydrogen and oxygen through a proprietary PEM electrolyzer system innovation I call 'natural compression.'

5. Video (Keep it simple, your phone on selfie-mode is great): Please upload a 1-minute video to YouTube that answers the following “I am stepping up to be a Changemaker because...”

6. Please highlight the key activities you have carried out to bring your project to life.

We have experimentally tested the core hypothesis behind natural compression for which we were also selected among the top 40 startups in the country to present at the National Academy of Engineering. We have validated the need for our solution to this problem by participating in the NSF iCorps Program, conducting customer discovery interviews and ecosystem analysis. Participating in Future Founders Phase 2 and the iVenture Accelerator program we are developing a refined go-to market strategy.

7. The X Factor: What is different about your project compared to other programs or solutions already out there?

At NASADYA, we have developed a proprietary natural compression system that makes it economic to use the carbon-free production process of hydrogen and oxygen generation. As compression accounts for 65% of the cost of making Hydrogen, our natural compression system decreases the cost of production by 50%. Not only is our system more efficient and cheaper, but our production system also doesn’t result in any carbon emission while the current hydrogen production methods result in almost 500 million tons of carbon emissions.

8. Impact: In the last three months, please detail the impact your project has made.

As we are still in the building phase, the project hasn’t had any direct impact on the problem yet. However, it is gathering interest from people and traction from potential customers.

9. What’s Next: What are your ideas for taking your project to the next level?

We are currently leaning more towards a partnership set-up where we operate like an engineering/R&D company, shifting the vast manufacturing and distribution costs to big EPCs. We want to begin by targeting companies involved with both the markets our product would be interacting with, energy generation and hydrogen consumption. Further, we will target companies that are not only involved with generation of energy, but also companies that are involved with refineries. Renewable energy plants suffer the most due to overgeneration and petroleum refineries are among the highest consumers of hydrogen. So, they are our target market. One of the biggest companies that matches our target market is BP.

10. Please share how you have influenced other young people to get involved in your project and/or care about environmental sustainability.

I am really passionate about the problem of access to energy and my vision for creating a society that is driven by passion. Sharing this vision, the importance of the problem we are trying to solve, and the work done so far, I have been able to attract some really driven people to join the team. For people, who didn’t have the skillset or time to contribute to this project, they have actively supported us by sharing their networks and working towards a sustainable and equitable future!

11. How would you partner with other changemakers to make a difference?

Our strategy here is to solve the problem as efficiently as possible, which also means we want to minimize the time it takes for this solution to go from being an idea to a reality. To ensure this, we are actively trying to identify all opportunities of partnerships with other changemakers to do this. We believe and understand that the problem we are trying to solve needs as many changemakers as it can get!

12. How would you engage others who have never heard about your project to get their buy-in?

I would first gauge their level of understanding about the energy sector and from there provide a very general overview of the problem we are trying to solve. I would then show how our solution is very intuitive and direct. Then, I would explain to them the urgent need to solve this problem and help them understand how their role would be pivotal. I would work towards understanding/working with their reservations and confusions. Finally, I would answer their questions and ask if they want in!

13. Finances: If applicable, have you mobilized any of the following resources so far?

  • Mentors/advisors
  • Donations over $10k

14. Which of the following types of expertise would be most useful for you? You’ll be able to select only one option.

  • Accounting & Finance

Are you employed, or directly related (grand-parents, parents, sibling) to a GM or Ashoka employee?

  • No

How did you hear about this challenge?

  • Recommended by others

Evaluation results

5 evaluations so far

1. Overall evaluation

Yes, absolutely! - 80%

Probably - 20%

Maybe - 0%

Probably not - 0%

No - 0%

2. CONNECTION to Environmental Sustainability

5 - Absolutely! It is totally clear that the solution is contributing directly to environmental sustainability and/or addressing climate change - 80%

4 — Yes, it establishes a connection to environment/ climate change but could be stronger - 0%

3 — Somewhat, the entry speaks to this environmental sustainability, but the direct impact is not well established - 20%

2 — Not really, the connection to environment/ climate is very weak - 0%

1 — No. The entry does not have a reference the solution’s impact on environment and/or climate change - 0%

No Answer or No Connection - 0%

3. Is this entry CREATIVE?

5 - Yes, absolutely! - 100%

4 - Yes, I think so - 0%

3 - Maybe - 0%

2 - Probably not. - 0%

1 - No - 0%

No Answer - 0%

4. Does this entry demonstrate a COMMITMENT to changemaking?

5 - Yes, absolutely! - 100%

4 - Yes, I think so - 25%

3 - Maybe - 0%

2 - Probably not - 0%

1 - No - 0%

No Answer - 0%

5. Does this entry value CHANGEMAKING through collaboration with other stakeholders in its approach?

5 - Yes, absolutely! - 40%

4 - Yes, I think so - 40%

3 - Maybe - 20%

2 - Probably not - 0%

1 - No - 0%

No Answer - 0%

6. Is this entry VIABLE financially and operationally?

5 -Yes, absolutely! - 40%

4- Yes, I think so - 0%

3- Maybe - 60%

2- Probably not - 0%

1- No - 0%

No Answer - 0%

7. FEEDBACK: What are the strengths of this project?

CONNECTION: You have a great understanding and personal connection to the problem - 100%

CREATIVITY: You have researched existing solutions, and have developed unique, thoughtful new solutions to aid environmental sustainability/combat climate change - 100%

COMMITMENT: You have a thoughtful plan for growing your business, and your founding team has a strong combination of leadership and knowledge-based skills - 75%

CHANGEMAKER QUALITY: You value thinking around how to activate other changemakers and empower them to care about your cause. You also have a clearly defined plan on how to collaborate across multiple stakeholders - 100%

IMPACT MEASUREMENT: You use specific numbers and evidence to describe what your project has achieved so far (or plan to achieve in the future) and you have a plan for measuring impact - 50%

VIABLITY: You have given a great deal of thought to not just the idea itself but how to make it work from a financial perspective in the present and future - 25%

Other option - 0%

8. FEEDBACK: What are some areas for improvement for this project?

CONNECTION: Why you care about the environment/ climate was unclear – It would be great to elaborate on what this solution means to you, personally and how it affects you and/or your community. - 33.3%

CREATIVITY: Be more specific in your description of the research you have done into the past solutions to this problem and focus on how your solution is unique and innovative - 0%

COMMITMENT: Your plan for growing the organization can benefit from more specifics. How can you round out the various skills of your current leadership team to make the project a long-term success? - 33.3%

CHANGEMAKER QUALITY: Try to provide more insights into how you are activating changemakers and empowering them to innovate through your product or programming. How will they care about environment/climate if they currently do not? Think about how to create value for all stakeholders, not just immediate beneficiaries - 33.3%

IMPACT MEASUREMENT: Provide specific instances of your social impact and how you plan to measure impact – it may be helpful to describe the beneficiaries, products and programming, and provide evidence of (or plan for) how to measure impact - 100%

VIABILITY: Make sure you have provided descriptive information about your financial sustainability plan. Where do the funds come from now and do you have a concrete plan for future sustainability? - 100%

Nothing – I thought everything was great! - 33.3%

Other option - 0%


Join the conversation:

Photo of Justin Anderson

This is amazing, all the tech is already there!

I love your greater goal of making a more passion driven society!

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