Nostromo is a green energy company at the ‘core of a revolution’

By: Jayson Derrick
Jayson Derrick
Jayson lives in Montreal with his wife and daughter, loves watching hockey, and is on a lifelong quest to… read more.
on Jul 22, 2021
  • Nostromo develops an ice-powered clean energy platform.
  • Founder Yaron Ben Nun told Invezz it is at the 'core of a revolution'.
  • Nostromo has large clients in California but wants to be 'everywhere'

Nostromo (TLV: NOST) is an Israel-based thermal-energy storage company that is looking to bring its ice-powered energy storage system to the global market. With a recent $13.6 million capital raise and a new home at the Tel Aviv stock exchange, Nostromo is on a mission to leverage its unique green technology in the fight against global warming.

Invezz had the unique opportunity to chat with Nostromo CEO Yoram Ashery along with founder, CTO and President Yaron Ben Nun to understand the company’s technology and outlook.

State of the electrical grid

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The electrical grid as we know it today dates back to the late 1800s.   Needless to say, energy demands have greatly increased over the past 150 years at an exponential rate. While solar energy started to gain traction in the late 2000s, there are limitations to solar energy — notably, solar energy is not possible at night.  In California where around 14% to 15% of the energy grid comes from solar, the “Golden State” loses the equivalent of 16,000 megawatts of power when the sun sets, Ashery told Invezz.

This is where Nostromo comes in.  The company’s energy storage solution, the Nostromo IceBrick, stores energy during off-peak or surplus solar hours and then uses it for cooling purposes during peak hours.  The technology relies on water as the thermal storage medium and represents a game-changing technology as more companies invest in reducing their environmental impact.

The IceBrick system is installed on the roof of a building and water is frozen into ice when the thermal IceBricks are charged. It is later thawed out to dispense energy that has been stored throughout the day.

Industrial shot of Nostromo Ice Brick Created: 14.08.2020 Location: Shdema, Israel

Transition to a public company

Nostromo became a public company in June as part of a merger with Somoto that raised $13.6 million in new capital. All public companies have an obligation to maximize potential return for their investors but Nostromo sees itself as taking on a secondary role that impacts humanity for the better. Ben Nun said:

What we are doing right now is really at the core of a revolution — can’t describe it any different way.

Ben Nun said that the story the company is telling resonates with investors who recognize the need for new technologies where competition is scarce. 

Nostromo’s transition to the local public market was an easy process and the company is open to expanding its stock listing to global markets, but when the time is appropriate. The company will also look to provide financial guidance or outlook later in 2021 or early next year, Ben Nun said. In the meantime, the company has enough cash on hand to sustain itself for the near-term. 

The business model

Nostromo’s business model is based on installing its systems at no or a small upfront cost. The operations will be financed by a third party and Nostromo will share the revenue for the life of the client’s contract that could span up to two decades.

The company will emphasize the savings customers will see in a reduction in their electricity costs. In San Diego, California for example, customers who install Nostromo’s technology could see a savings of 30% or more in their energy costs on top of any addition to potential government rebates and packages.

California represents a large market for Nostromo, but the company is looking to be “everywhere,” Ben Nun said.

Yaron Ben Nun, Nostromo’s founder, CTO and President

Addressing challenges

A city like Mumbai which experiences temperatures north of 90 degrees Fahrenheit more than 300 days a year is by any measure a hot city to live in. But only an estimated 8% of the population owns an air conditioner and this number will rise as the economy continues to expand and more people enter the middle class. This presents a major burden on the existing electric infrastructure as air conditioning systems already account for up to 40% of total peak demand. Within 30 years, demand for electricity for cooling systems could triple.

Many countries across the region don’t experience cooler temperatures at night, so air conditioners in many places are running all day, Ashery explained. Naturally, Nostromo is paying attention to the region and over the coming years, it will be in a position to provide a solution for the energy requirements of the air conditioning systems.

Partnership with big oil

Nostromo has an ongoing R&D project with global oil giant Royal Dutch Shell. The company is “proud” to be cooperating with an oil giant that is forward-thinking and planning today for the future of energy that is clean and green.

Nostromo was granted $500,000 by Shell to fund a research project in the late 2010s and the company just submitted its findings. While management can’t disclose just yet specific details, it can say it provided an interesting proposition to the energy company. Ashery estimates that within 30 years oil business will be “zero or close to zero”. He said:

We are proud to [offer] one of the technologies that Shell is seriously examining as part of their future in the energy market.

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