Going Green had the opportunity to meet the founder of ONYX, a company that is doing amazing things in the portable energy & power space. Debarshi Das founded the company with the goal to provide energy and power to off-grid homes, disaster relief teams, and on-site work where
What is your occupation? Where do you work?
I’m the founder of ONYX POWER LLC (“ONYX”), which launched this year “perfectly” timed with the rise of the pandemic. I’m also the Founder and Principal of ARKASA LLC (“ARKASA”), a clean tech consultancy and DOE American-Made Challenges Connector.
In addition, I’m the Executive Vice President at ConSol, a building energy, efficiency, technology and policy modeling service provider.
Tell us a little bit about you and your background:
I have a BS in Chemical Engineering and a MBA in International Management. I’ve been lucky enough to work in onshore wind energy, offshore wind energy (in Europe), commercial & industrial solar, batteries for EVs and energy storage, vehicle charging and also support various leading edge clean tech companies ranging from startups through Fortune 500.
What is a fun fact about you?
I’m an aspiring rock climber and I’m starting to lead some 5.8-5.10 sport routes. Old dog, new tricks! I also run in Vibram 5 Fingers minimalist shoes and have since 2009, almost by accident. Don’t worry, I don’t walk around in them – I use flip flops for that.
What was your motivation to get into the portable energy industry?
To make the maximum positive impact to climate change. I chose to focus on renewable energy coming out of grad school in 2008 after having worked in consumer products from 2000-2006. Specifically, I was seeking to advance and accelerate the lowest cost clean energy competitor to fossil fuels – and in 2008, it was utility-scale wind energy at ~6-7 cents/kWh. Solar was ~20-22 cents/kWh at that time, almost 10x what it costs today!
I was eventually led to the battery world as I saw batteries, and energy storage generally, as a key enabler to unlocking the full potential of renewable energy. I specifically decided to start ONYX because, globally, people need power – and people deserve clean power, anytime and anywhere.
Why do you think climate change/sustainability is such an important topic today?
It is as inspiring as it is critical and time-sensitive. It affects all organisms and resources on the planet, which are inextricably linked. Nature has already designed for sustainability, abundance and circular resource use. Humans are just getting “woke” to those concepts at scale.
At the end of the day, everything is borrowed – our resources and our time. Let’s make the best of both.
What do you envision your industry looking like 10 years from now?
Specifically in the battery tech industry, I think there will be significant advances in technology (chemistries, solid state, lower weight, higher energy density), lower cost and greater deployment. Advancements in batteries, and energy storage generally, will drive growth in the growth of electric vehicles, home energy back-up power, remote and off-grid resilience, disaster relief, and also replacing “everyday” systems like small gas/diesel generators.
What can the average person do to make a difference?
Ask yourself and your friends/family questions, such as: Is there a better/cleaner/more sustainable option? Can I reuse or repurpose this? Can I walk/bike instead of drive? Where did this product come from and where will it go when I’m done?
“Support products and companies you believe in, and speak with your dollars as well as through social media.” – Debarshi Das
Be excited about the positive aspects of sustainability and share that excitement with others (i.e. don’t shame people for their choices, instead congratulate and positively reinforce their good ones).
There are many small decisions we can make that, in aggregate, result in a tremendously positive impact. As consumers, you have the ultimate power over any company – choose and be heard with your dollars.
What positive changes are you seeing?
More and more people challenging the status quo, asking questions about where their products come from, how they were made, how they get upcycled/recycled, and making their buying decisions accordingly. People are seeking information and are sharing information, thinking about their community and considering the positive impacts of their choices – this is great.
Going Green wants to thank Debarshi for sharing his experience working in portable energy.
Going Green, hosted by Dylan Welch, interviews leading experts in cleantech, sustainability, media, finance, and real estate on the Going Green podcast. Tune in and subscribe to the podcast on Apple or Spotify to listen to interviews with leading cleantech and sustainable experts. If you are interested in being featured on Going Green, click HERE.