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A Climate Change with Matt Matern
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89: How Adam Wright's Vespene Energy Tackles Methane Emissions with Microgrids

Guest Name(s): Adam Wright

Matt Matern interviews Adam Wright, CEO of Vespene Energy, which reduces methane emissions from small landfills using self-sustaining microgrids. These convert landfill gas to electricity for data processing. Projects aim to cut U.S. landfill methane by 22%.

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Vespene captures methane emissions from landfills to power self-sustaining microgrids…
Vespene uses landfill methane to fuel Bitcoin mining…
Episode 89: Adam Wright
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You’re listening to A Climate Change. This is Matt Matern your host. I’ve got Adam Wright, CEO of Vespene Energy and as a guest today. Welcome to the program, Adam.

Hey, Matt, how are you? Thanks for, thanks for having me.

Well tell us a little bit about what best investing energy is and what your role is over at the company.

Yeah, of course. So WSB and energy, you can look at in two different ways. The first is we’re a methane mitigation company. And the second is we’re a renewable energy developer. We target landfills. We firstly we look at landfills as a major source of methane emissions. And we work with smaller landfills, that generally would be outside of the realm of traditional landfill developers.

And we help those landfills mitigate their methane emissions by installing self-sustaining micro grids. In a self-sustaining micro grid is essentially a landfill gas to electricity project. So we’re combusting the methane in a clean burning turbine, but then we’re using that energy rather than distributing it, distributing it out from the site, we’re actually bringing the user of that energy to the site in the form of data processing. And data processing can mean a lot of different things.

And there’s several types of data processing. One of the most notable is in fact, Bitcoin mining. And we’ll we’ll kind of get into the details. They’re happy to, you know, elaborate a little bit more about the context of landfills and landfill gas and the problem at large.

Well, tell us a little bit about your background, and what led you to be, you know, to, to best be in energy. Sure.

Well, my background is mechanical engineering. So I have a degree in mechanical engineering from UC Berkeley. And my focus in my career was primarily on ocean engineering. So the majority of my career was actually in submarine design.

So I was the founder and CEO of a company called Deep Light. We did We did personal submarines for recreation and tourism, but also to, you know, expand and sort of shine lights on ocean conservation efforts. By bringing people underwater and having experiences and viewing the ocean kind of as a wilderness. I come from sort of a long line of environmentalists, my grandfather started an ocean conservation nonprofit called the oceanic society.

So you know, conservation and climate change has always been kind of part of my dinner table conversation. And, you know, I got exposed to landfill gas in landfill methane and sort of the problem that it presents about two years ago. And, you know, we found it Vespene on the on the basis of solving or helping to solve the methane emissions problem.

Well, my understanding is methane gas is much more dangerous to as a greenhouse gas, and then CO2 Is something on the order of 10 times or more dangerous. And landfills produce a fair amount of it. What percentage of methane worldwide is coming from landfills?

Yeah, there’s several different estimates of that. I think the main sort of UN Climate Change body estimates that landfills represent about 20% of global methane emissions. It’s in third place behind oil and gas and an agricultural sources such as you know, you hear a lot about cow burps, and for manure, dairy manure management, but landfill methane is a is a big problem, and it’s not being mitigated to the extent that that we think it can be so just as a little bit of context.

So yeah, you’re totally right. Methane is a is a horrible greenhouse gas. In the first 20 years of its emission, it’s actually 84 times worse than carbon dioxide, it does kind of degrade over time. So if you look at it in 100 year window, it’s actually 25 times worse. But I think anyway, anyway, that you sort of shake a stick at it, and methane is a, you know, is a terrible greenhouse gas.

So, you know, mitigating and, you know, sort of removing methane emissions is of real primary importance to climate change. And, you know, if we look at the landfill problem more specifically, and you’re, you’re we’re US based, so we’re focused Sitting on kind of us landfills right now, the US has about 3,000 landfills, you know, there’s most of them are going to be sort of rural quite far away from city centers. So only the largest of those landfills, you can can support a traditional energy project.

And when I say traditional energy project, I mean, you know, basically building a power plant and selling that electricity to the grid, or collecting that methane and refining it into pipeline quality gas, and then injecting that into the grid. So these two types of projects are very capital intensive. And they require infrastructure.

So they require either you know, transmission infrastructure, or pipeline infrastructure in order to get that commodity, whether it be electrons or molecules, get that commodity away from the landfill in to the end user. So this means that, you know, of those two out of those 3000 landfills, only about 600 of them are large enough to support those types of projects, all the rest of them are either flaring the gas.

So they collect the gas and burn it and flare, because they’re required to by the EPA, because they’ve reached a certain emissions threshold, but landfills that are underneath that emissions threshold are just freely emitting methane into the atmosphere. And our primary target is the smaller landfills that are unregulated by the EPA, and are freely emitting methane into the atmosphere.

And how many of the 2400 remaining? You know, landfills are you targeting? Are you targeting the ones that are also flaring gas?

Yeah, we are, we are for sure, flare at, you know, flaring gas. So there’s, you know, there’s two types of landfills that I mentioned, that we that we target, there’s landfills that are already collecting that gas, but they have no use case for it.

So they flare it off. And so flaring is better for the environment and then letting it emit. However, flares can be very inefficient. And I think that, you know, there’s been some studies done a flare because it’s, it’s sort of an exposed flame, it can be, you know, it can be influenced by wind or weather. And so generally speaking, a flare only has about 91% combustion efficiency, so there is a lot of methane it’s actually escaping.

So for from an efficiency standpoint, and methane combustion efficiency, it’s much better to be combusting that methane inside of a generator, where it’s in a closed environment. And if you do it, that way, you can achieve, you know, 99.5% combustion efficiency.

And then, you know, if you’re collecting the methane from a, you know, emitting landfill, obviously, the, you know, the methane destruction gains are even greater. So, you know, we target both, I think that, you know, for counties or cities or municipalities that are our operating flares, you know, these are, these are basically, you know, cash sinks, you know, these are, these are, you know, significant liabilities, financial liabilities for the community.

And these communities, you know, don’t have a lot of cash on hand, and now, you know, the, they’re, they’re sort of forced to upkeep these, this infrastructure, not only put in the capital to install the infrastructure, but also maintain that infrastructure year over year, just for the purpose of, you know, mitigating this environmental contaminant we come in, and we can help those communities turn that liability into an asset by creating a positive cash flow for them.

So then you put some kind of clean burning turbine there to help burn the methane and generate some power. Now, in terms of the cost factor to, to these end users use 2400 landfills, how much does it cost to put in your technology?

Yeah, so we’re a project developer. So from that, from that perspective, we we fund all of the capital that goes into our projects, so we don’t require any financial contribution from from our customers. So not only that, we so we come in, we install, you know, all of our equipment on on our dime. And then we and then on top of that we pay that municipality a royalty for the gas that we collect.

Now, in terms of what’s the downside for the municipality, if any?

There’s no downside. I mean, it’s sort of a win win. I mean, you know, the, the places that we’re targeting are, again, smaller rural communities with not a whole lot of income streams. And these communities because the landfill is is relative Have we small, it’s going to be overlooked by traditional developers that are, you know, again, running these larger types of projects.

And so these, you know, these communities are, you know, have either a financial liability in the sense that they’re, you know, forced to flare off this gas and incur this annual fee.

And you know, and this is going to be done into infinity because landfills are going to be producing gas, as long as that landfill is taking in more trash, that’s going to be producing gas, you know, for decades, and even after that landfill closes, if that landfill is not taking in any more trash at all, it’s still going to have about 60 years worth of methane that needs to be dealt with.

So these are very long term projects, very long term liabilities that we can come in and really help communities, you know, deal with, you know, the the landfills that are the larger landfills that are targets for traditional developers, these are typically large cities, and the cities already have, you know, plenty of other revenue streams to them. The targets that we’re targeting, you know, the landfills that we’re targeting are rural, and, you know, don’t have a whole lot of other revenue streams.

Well, you’re listening to A Climate Change. This is Matt Matern, your host and I’ve got Adam Wright, who is CEO of Vespene Energy, which is engaged in working with landfills to help mitigate their methane problems. Well, we’ll be right back just after the break.

You’re listening to A Climate Change. This is Matt Matern. And I’ve got Adam Wright, the CEO of Vespene Energy on the show. And Adam, just before the break, we were talking about how you’re working with lots of communities across the country to bring your product or services to reduce their methane emissions. How many communities are you currently working with?

Yeah, so we’re a young company, we’re recently funded, we have, you know, backing from several leading Silicon Valley venture capitals, groups. So we have three projects currently in development and under construction, one in central California, one in Wisconsin, and one in Georgia.

So that’s kind of the beauty of the you know, using data and data processing, to help to mitigate and monetize methane emissions means that you can, that we can, because we’re off grid, we don’t require a grid or a pipeline connection, we can operate basically anywhere on Earth, that there is stranded and emitting methane emissions.

So this means that we, you know, we are agnostic of jurisdiction. You know, we don’t we don’t care kind of how far we are away from a city center or away from a population center, we can provide our service completely in, you know, quote, unquote, Island mode, anywhere anywhere on Earth.

Obviously, we’re focusing on the US market right now. But, you know, the technology is, you know, is applicable to other, you know, other jurisdictions. In addition to those three sites that we have kind of under construction, we have about 30 sites that are in sort of our long term pipeline that will be coming online over the next year to 18 months.

Okay, well, that’s an impressive start now, in terms of the average cost to your company, per site to build this out and put a clean burning turbine. What kind of range of costs to put this in?

Sure. I mean, there’s a, you know, there’s a range and it depends there is there are some site specific factors that go into that. I think one of the main things is, you know, different landfills depending on sort of the, you know, the makeup of that particular communities trash, there’s going to be differences in the gas constituents.

And so one of the things that we do prior to combusting in the turbine, is that we actually filter out a lot of the contaminants and this is sort of an ancillary, you know, an ancillary benefit, let’s say, combusting methane in a in a micro turbine, is that, you know, if you’re, if you’re either emitting that gas or you’re you’re or if you’re flaring the gas, you’re not doing any of this filtering a lot of these other contaminants such as hydrogen sulfide, subluxations, NOx, there’s all these other sort of dirty chemicals that are in this landfill gas that’s just getting freely emitted into the atmosphere.

And so an ancillary benefit of our technology is that we can mitigate the release of these, these other gases, which has, you know, significant impacts on local health and, you know, smog and air pollution.

So because of the differences in this gas content, it’s difficult to say, you know, what the actual cost per site will be, but on average, you know, depending on the size of the landfill, it could be, you know, on the low end, let’s say $3 million on the high end for a large landfill, you know, up to about 10 million. But when we say large landfill, you know, we, again, we are targeting smaller landfills.

So, typically, the gas flow, you know, we measure gas gas flow in cubic feet per minute. And so we’re targeting sites that are, let’s say, 1000 cubic feet per minute and below, but if you imagine that, you know, 1000 cubic feet per minute, that sounds like a very big number.

And in fact, it is a big number, but from a landfill perspective, that’s actually considered a small landfill. And there’s 1000s of these sites across the country that are, you know, either freely emitting their methane or at best, you know, flaring the methane but in a inefficient manner.

Well, tell us a little bit about the additional chemicals that you’re filtering out these contaminants and, and how, what you’re doing with those contaminants once they are filtered out. Yeah, so the contaminants.

So there’s two main contaminants, or I guess, three main contaminants that we filter out. The first one is hydrogen sulfide, that’s what gives you kind of the rotten egg smell, it is a very kind of hazardous gas, there’s a there’s basically a solid filter. So there’s a there’s basically a particulate matter, it’s actually created of, of iron particles, that this this this, this filtration substrate, actually bind with the hydrogen sulfide into a into a solid.

And so that when that when that hydrogen sulfide binds to this solid filtration, such substrates, it becomes basically an inert solid, and it can be disposed of as a non-hazardous material. So it goes from being like a kind of a hazardous gas into a non-hazardous solid. So that’s on the hydrogen sulfide side. There’s other constituents. Another one is called Celox ainz.

And so Roxane is like a silicone based chemical. And that gets filtered out by a, an activated carbon. So, you know, you’d have activated carbon or activated charcoal filters for you know, a typical air filter, and this, this filtration is enough to bind to this oxygen molecules, and again, rendered inert in a in a solid that can be disposed of as a non-hazardous commodity.

Well, that, that all sounds good, I guess the question I have regarding the energy that you’re, you’re using some of this energy for data processing in terms of Bitcoin mining? That’s where I guess I have a bit of an issue with why use it for Bitcoin mining?

Sure. Yeah. I mean, so I think first, the first thing to understand about Vespene is that we are we’re not a Bitcoin mining company, where we simply use Bitcoin mining as a as a tool to achieve a kind of a longer term goal. And that longer term goal is utilizing landfills as a key step in the energy transition to a green energy future.

So the reason there’s so the reason that Bitcoin mining is so useful as a methane as a way of kind of economically Miss mitigating methane emissions is primarily for two reasons. The first is that it is very, it’s immediately scalable. So that means that you can, you can set up Bitcoin mining kind of anywhere on earth without needing a customer. And you can, you know, as long as you have access to open sky, you can send that data away from the site via satellite, right?

So if you if you compare that to, let’s say, traditional data centers, firstly, if you’re running a traditional data center, you have to you have to have a much higher bandwidth of internet connection. So you have to run fiber Internet and typically remote rural landfills aren’t gonna have fiber Internet. And that you so a typical data center is not going to be able to with withstand interoperability. This is the other factor that’s really important about Bitcoin mining is that it’s fully interoperable.

And this is kind of a key feature of our money. grid solution, because the purpose of the micro grid, the self sustaining micro grid is not just to, let’s say mind Bitcoin, but it’s also to support on site electrification. And so let you know landfills have a lot of, you know, electric, let’s say electric loads. So there’s, there’s things like leech, eight pumps. So leech eight is basically the liquid that comes out of the landfill that needs to be either pumped back into the landfill and recirculated or pumped away from the landfill into a wastewater treatment facility.

And these pumps actually consume quite a bit of electricity. So by having a micro grid on site, we now are able to electrify the landfill without needing to consume grid power, and without needing diesel generators. And so typically, landfills have a lot of diesel generators to supply you know, extra power to the site, we’re able to leverage the landfill gas, mitigate the methane emissions and provide that site with with clean energy for its for its on site use.

So we think of our developments as kind of a phased approach, right? So phase one, we’re going to get in there as quickly as possible mitigate those methane emissions in a in an economic way. Phase two is we support any and all on site use cases for that for that energy. So I mentioned the chait’s also electric vehicle charging, so there’s actually a big push in the landfill community to electrify their fleets. And by having a micro grid setup on site with high power electric production, we can actually co locate fleet charging with Bitcoin mining acting as a backup.

And it’s, it’s very key to have that interruptible load acting as a backup, because you know, landfill gas, methane needs to be mitigated or combusted 24/7. If you’re not charging your vehicles, where does that excess, that excess energy go. So we need a place basically a dumping ground for that excess energy. And then the phase three is, you know, there are some sites that over time and as population centers change, there are plenty of sites that are going to be targets, and good fits for grid connection over time.

The reason that you wouldn’t start with grid connection is because typically, you know, wholesale energy sales is a very low margin activity. And there’s all this extra infrastructure that needs to get put in to attach that site to the grid, you know, happy to jump happy to sort of elaborate more on the grid connection. But our goal long term is that all of the sites that we’re going to build that we build out, are going to be attached to the grid contributing to the overall electrification of the country.

Well, Adam, it’s quite an interesting concept. You’re listening to A Climate Change. I’ve got CEO of Vespene Energy on the program, Adam Wright. And we’re talking about, you know, using the methane coming off of, you know, lots of landfills across the country to use it for some good purposes here. We’ll be right back after the break.

You’re listening to A Climate Change, this is Matt Matern, and I’ve got Adam Wright and CEO of Vespene Energy on the program, talking about methane mitigation.

Adam, just before the break, we were talking about what your company is doing with this energy that’s being generated by the coin burning turbines that you are installing at these at these landfills? I guess I have a question as to why not put a grid connection so that you could feed this energy back to the grid as opposed to Bitcoin mining?

I know, you said that wholesale energy is not a very high margin business. But doesn’t that isn’t that a little bit more environmentally conscious than creating Bitcoin, which may or may not have value going forward?

Yeah, I mean, that’s a it’s a valid question. And I think that, you know, our goal as a company, is that we want all of our sites to ultimately be selling electricity to the grid. So if you if you said, if you said Hey, Adam, you can you can do what you’re doing today, and scale of we mitigate methane emissions and connect to the grid kind of instantaneously, I would absolutely choose the grid connection option. And there are several, there’s several problems with starting with grid connection. So the purpose of the Bitcoin mining is basically as a bootstrap.

And you’re, you’re able to get a site up and running, mitigate the methane emissions with a, an instant buyer of that electricity co located with the site. So the main problem with grid connections are there’s there’s several problems, but I’ll sort of highlight the main challenge is, is that if I have a new power plant, let’s say a small power plant, like a, you know, what we’re doing, what we’re dealing with here is anywhere from one to four megawatts. And that’s very, very small in comparison to a typical power plant, which is putting out, you know, 20 3050 megawatts or more, right.

And so in order to kind of the utilities are not going to prioritize the work required to interconnect these very small generation assets to to the grid at large. And so, the challenge there is actually working with all of the local utilities around the country, in the jurisdictions where these landfills are located, and actually getting the agreement in place to physically interconnect and sell that electricity to the grid.

And then furthermore, most of the sites, I think, as I mentioned, are very remote in and rural, and a lot of them don’t actually have any existing grid connection. So in addition to the time it takes to deal with local utility, you also have to incur additional expense to build out power lines and power lines can be anywhere from one to $3 million a mile. And so for landfills that are far away from, let’s say, substations, it can be very costly to, to put those in.

And so those are, those are two of the main factors, like in addition to the fact that selling wholesale electricity can be very, very low margin, right. So if we, if we start with Bitcoin mining, and we, overtime, we So firstly, we started with Bitcoin mining, we also enable that site to get off grid, and we save them on costs of their electricity and also reduce the overall load on the grid at large. We can and and further take them off of diesel generators.

We can then over time, connect to the grid after let’s say, you know, let’s say we’ve we’ve used Bitcoin mining, we’ve managed to amortize the cost of the of the equipment, the generation equipment. And then once we’ve amortize the cost, then we can actually accept a lower margin activity for a much longer term.

So I think the, you know, the key thing to understand is that, you know, we are very much so we are very much alike, our goal is to connect as many of these sites to the grid as possible, because we know that, like electricity sales, and the need for electricity is only going to be growing. So the fact that we’re leveraging Bitcoin mining is simply as kind of a temporary bootstrapping mechanism towards that ultimate goal in the future.

Well, let me ask you in terms of a couple of things, one, for the uninitiated, like myself, just kind of assuming that there’s some kind of electricity connection grid connection to to every area where there is a landfill, though it might not be a substation, how much is the limitation of what you could feed onto the grid through a kind of regular you know, utility power line versus needing the need for a substation.

Also, whether or not some battery or battery technology could be helpful in allowing you to kind of feed energy into the grid maybe at a slower pace. So that you can feed it in to the grid when there are times when power providers need more electricity light during the day times.

For the third point is the government and what the federal and state and local governments are doing to encourage grid connection in the situations because it’s in should be in the interest of all these governmental entities to lower methane emissions for their respective communities and lower the amount of pollution are, are any in the levels of government cooperating and working with you to help roll out these solutions?

And maybe a fourth question related to it is, are there other companies that are doing similar things to mitigate methane coming out of landfills on why’s that your company is doing?

Sure? Well, maybe I’ll start with a last question. So we’re the only company currently that is trying to address the problem of landfill methane emissions from smaller landfills at scale. There’s no other company that is talking to these landfills interacting with these landfills. I’ll give you some examples. You know, when we when we identify, you know, a small landfill that is emitting methane.

And we contact them, they have never been contacted before by any commercial developer. So you know, we’re the, we’re the first company that’s actually coming to them with a solution to their problem. And that’s simply because of, you know, we’re using this, we’re, you know, we’re using, we’re leveraging a technological advance or improvement on the current and the current kind of status quo, and applying that to a problem.

And so the, you know, the landfills that we’re talking to are, are sort of, I would say, you know, overjoyed, I guess, to have us knocking on the door and actually providing them with a solution. So, you know, from that perspective, you know, our technology and our, our development. So we’ve identified in, you know, in the United States, I mentioned, there’s 3000 landfills about it, and we kind of you go down the list, and there’s those are about there’s about 1,000 landfills out there that are just straight up emitting into the atmosphere, so no gas collection system whatsoever.

These landfills if we select the largest 300 of those landfills, so these are the 300 largest, unregulated landfills. If we were to, and we’re already we’ve already sort of having conversations and well on our way to 30 of those 300. So if we were to have projects on all 300 of those landfills, we would reduce us landfill methane emissions by 22%.

Which give us a give us a sense of what that means in terms of 22%. What would be the amount of cars and that would need to be taken off the road to or changed to other zero emission type vehicles in order to equal 22% of all US methane production?

Yeah, I know, I know that there’s various calculators and things where you can where you can kind of calculate those, we think in terms of CO2 E, or carbon dioxide equivalent. So those that 20 22% of us methane emissions would be approximately 20 million tons of CO2 II annually. And, you know, there’s calculators that will calculate that into cars, but it’s going to be on the order of, you know, let’s say, 10-10s of millions of cars potentially.

So I guess, then the question is, why isn’t, you know, kind of government getting involved to help fail this out faster, because they realize this is a private effort that you are engaged in, and that’s commendable. But given the scale of the problem and the need to reduce emissions quickly. It doesn’t seem like it’s going to scale as fast as we need to, to eliminate methane production in a way that we need to limited by, you know, 2030 when the government the government is to answer that question,

Adam, are, you know, you’re gonna have to stay tuned, because after the break, we’re gonna go to break right now and Adam will come back and answer that important question. We’ll be right back. This is Matt Matern, A Climate Change. Talking to Adam Wright, CEO of Vespene Energy. We’ll be back in one minute.

You’re listening to A Climate Change is Matt Mater and I’ve got Adam rights CEO best being the energy on the show. Right before the break, Adam was going to answer a question I just posed to him. Adam turbo view?

Yeah, so I think the question was related to government support for methane reduction in general. And I think that’s absolutely true. The government, various government bodies, whether it be the federal government, or state governments, or even local air districts, everybody that we’ve interacted with, has been overwhelmingly supportive of our solution.

Because so, you know, the, the government only has kind of a stick, let’s say, That’s so long. So, you know, if regulation is a is a stick, I think we provide a carrot in the in the sort of the carrot and stick analogy. Your your, it’s going to be very difficult, and the EPA has already done a commendable job on, you know, requiring landfills to install gas collection systems and flare their gas for environmental, you know, mitigation purposes.

But there’s, there’s so many landfills in the US, and it’s just, it’s virtually impossible to try to, you know, mitigate all of them, you know, they have they’ve set certain thresholds that, you know, the the new source performance standards are NSPS, as part of the Clean Air Act, they actually recently update upgraded that, to say that, you know, newer landfills are ones that were built after 1994, they’ve actually lowered or sort of, made the threshold, more stringent for their emissions by about 20, or about 30%.

But even even that threshold, still, there’s still some, you know, like, landfills that are capable of producing anywhere from, let’s say, one to three megawatts of power, are actively emitting. And I think one of the one of the questions I wanted to address as well was, you know, I think you’re, you’re right, that most landfills do have some kind of grid connection in terms of, you know, they have power to power the offices and things of this nature.

But those those power lines, and those connections are sized for very small loads. So typically, it might be a, you know, a 50 amp or 100 amp service. Whereas if we’re, so we’re creating, you know, anywhere from one to five, or one to four megawatts of power, you need to you need to have some significant upgrades done to the site, which is again, very costly to have the grid actually be able to accept that that amount of power.

And you I think you had mentioned batteries, like, can you set up a battery system to sort of trickle the power in at a very at a slower rate? I mean, theoretically, you probably could, but batteries are going to be, you know, from a CapEx perspective, significantly more expensive than then we’re what we’re able to put together. You know, that being said, all of that work to build, you know, to have a grid to be able to accept the power built, you know, from our site, we start that work from day one, right.

So the the day that our site is up and running and generating power and, and providing economic incentive, we’re also working with the local utility to, to have that site ultimately, you know, connected grid and that, that that interconnect agreement can take anywhere from three to five years in some cases. And so in that in those in those three to five years, we’re able to mitigate the methane and, you know, and provide financial renumeration back to the community. And then when we do get that grid connection, we pick up our data center and we move it to the next site that we’re building.

So it’s very, it’s very modular and scalable in this sense, so again, it’s it’s, it’s, it’s important to kind of look at Bitcoin, you know, I know Bitcoin mining gets a very bad rap, right?

So, if I’m, if I’m setting up a new, let’s say, I’m opening an old coal power plant for purely the purpose of Bitcoin money, that is, I would say, anybody could agree that that is a wrong message for for the climate.

Right. But I think by leveraging Bitcoin as a tool in this in this effort to mitigate methane, it can help too so by so here’s the other thing. Important thing about that is that for all the more Bitcoin mining that we do on our sites, we are lowering the margins for all other all Bitcoin miners that are We’re working on dirty powder.

So the more kind of because you know, wasted methane is by, by definition, very, very cheap power. So the more kind of wasted methane that we can build out, the lower the margins are going to be for people that are mining with coal, right?

And so we’re by us building out more infrastructure we’re actually potentially putting others are dirty your miners out of business, in terms of the diesel generation, that you’re able to reduce by the fact that you’re creating this cleaner power source off of the methane. What kind of reduction Are you getting in diesel generation at these landfills that you’re going to be doing the workout of?

Yeah, I mean, that’s, that’s also a very site specific question. I think that some landfills are going to have different landfills have different use cases, a lot of a lot of landfills, use diesel generators, to some extent, to do things like I think I mentioned before leach eight, evaporation or leach eight pumping, but but also, other types of kind of solid waste management.

So there’s things like, you know, grinders and chippers and sorting machines, and a lot of times it because that landfill is far, because the the electrical service to that landfill is, is is sort of small in terms of its ability to provide power, they’re, they’re forced to have these other these other, you know, diesel generators that can be up, you know, up to, you know, several 100 kilowatts.

And so, you know, a small, a small landfill of one megawatt can support all of these other landfill use cases, and basically negate the V the need to have any type of diesel power generation, which, you know, is sort of an off, it’s an ancillary environmental benefit to the main benefit of mitigating the methane emissions.

But the thing that enables that is, in fact, the Bitcoin mining, so without Bitcoin mining, being this variable load, that’s able to scale up or scale down, because if I turn off my bitcoin mining machines, nobody’s gonna care. What happens to that data, the only thing that happens is that, you know, I turned it on, and I’m, and I’m gaining, you know, getting revenue, I turned it off, I’m losing that revenue.

But, you know, in terms of this problem, that 20% of the US is methane production is coming from landfills. And given the amount of damage that’s doing to the environment, not that I’m for the government stepping in on every situation to solve the problem, it would be certainly preferable with private industry, solve that itself.

And your company’s efforts are commendable on that front. But why shouldn’t the government do more to step in and reduce the amount of methane emitted from these sites, some something along the lines of what your company is doing? Whether it’s having the clean burning turbines as well as connecting these turbines to to the grid more effectively, so that we can use that power?

Yeah, well, so the government, the government typically doesn’t come in and sort of develop projects. So the way that the government actually gets involved is with things like the so the Department of Energy, for instance, has a a program called Title 17, which, which actually got a lot more funding recently from the Inflation Reduction Act.

And Title 17 is a is basically a loan program or loan guarantee program for developers that are using innovative technology in energy infrastructure to mitigate greenhouse gas emissions. And so we are, you know, in conversation with various levels of government agencies to actually secure government funding for a broad rollout of AR VR technology.

I think, Jigar Shah, we had him on the program a few months ago, and he’s I guess, in charge of $40 billion. That’s, that’s exactly the $40 billion that we’re that we’re looking at. I mean, how much of it would you need to roll it out country wide to solve this problem?

Sure in terms of like $1, $1 spent per like, ton of CO2, ie, our tech, our technology is going to be some of the best bang for your buck. So a 300 landfill rollout of systems like collection systems, turbines, and you know, the whole nine yards is going to be anywhere from, let’s say one and a half to $2 billion for that entire rollout. And that would save 20 20 million tons of CO2 e annually.

So if you look, it seems like a good use of our funds. And that’s a loan and from what Jigar Shah told us, that they’ve got a pretty good collection rate in terms of people paying it back. So that means not only are we going to have an environmental benefit, we’re going to get our money back as US taxpayers. So I assume Adam, you’re gonna pay us back right?

Most definitely.

Okay, well, fascinating topic. Good luck with your, the work that you’re doing Adam great work as CEO of WSP in energy, helping mitigate the methane problem out of 1,000s of landfills across the US and hopefully, beyond because the US isn’t the only country with landfills.

You’re listening to A Climate Change, just as Matt Matern and please join us next week. Thanks again for being on the show.

Thanks, Matt. Nice to be here.

(Note: this is an automatic transcription and may have errors in formatting and grammar.)

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