BAKERSFIELD, Calif. (KGET) — In the corner of a garage in Southwest Bakersfield, Anahat Sahay is designing the future of refrigeration.
He has plenty of time to spend on it, now that he’s just graduated high school.
“I am just 18, meaning I have a lot more time to burn,” Sahay said.
Sahay, under his company name Modulium, is working on a multi-tiered cooling system to help refrigerate and ship produce cheaply and efficiently. His project is now getting a $150,000 funding jumpstart thanks to the California Sustainable Energy Entrepreneur Development Initiative, or CalSEED.
“This grant is like a blessing that has come to his temperament,” Anahat’s father Prakhar Prakash said. “I think it’s the perfect setting for him.”
Born and raised in Bakersfield, Sahay has seen firsthand the challenges farmers and shippers face. Modulium isn’t just a pet project. It’s Sahay’s drive to lift up those around him.
“If I’m helping someone, if I’m making an impact, it’s not like I’m shipping off a product to someone a thousand miles away and calling them,” Sahay said. “As nice as that is, it’s not the same as walking to them, seeing them at the farmers’ market and seeing that they’re interested in the idea, that they’re thinking about how they could use it.”
Sahay, just 17 when he accepted the grant, is the youngest recipient in the six-year history of the CalSEED program. He’ll be the first to tell you, he’s a little young to be designing life-changing technology.
“I guess I feel like right now, I’m walking behind a glass pane,” Sahay said. “I have a feeling I won’t really understand the impact of what I’m doing for years, honestly, because I don’t think I’ve had enough experience to realize the impact, to be fully honest.”
And there’s plenty to do. Modulium is still in the design phase — Sahay has yet to build a prototype. He’ll be taking the next year to do just that: delaying his college admission in hopes of moving on to the second round of the CalSEED program, which comes with nearly half a million dollars in funding.
Rather than worry about going up against dozens of adults, Sahay is appreciative and excited for the challenge ahead.
“This is the time where I can use this funding extremely liberally,” Sahay said. “I don’t even need to pay myself. I want to spend this year really well and I have the ability to do so.”
Edit: A previous version of this story identified Modulium’s creator as Anahat Satay. His name is Anahat Sahay.