Vespene Energy Raises $4.3M Funding to Convert Landfill Methane into Bitcoin

Nicholas Otieno   Aug 10, 2022 03:15

Berkeley-based renewable energy company Vespene Energy announced on Tuesday that it had raised $4.3 million in a funding round led by Polychain Capital and joined by other climate-focused funds.

Vespene said it plans to use the fresh funding to launch its pilot site in California, a development that aims to make it the first firm to convert wasted landfill methane into energy power that enables Bitcoin mining.

Vespene seeks to convert methane emissions to electricity for Bitcoin mining.

The firm stated that it installs highly efficient micro-turbines on municipal landfills to convert otherwise wasted methane gas into electricity for various on-site uses such as Bitcoin mining data centres, among others.

The company said its immediately deployable and highly scalable technology enables municipal landfill operators to monetize a stranded asset while minimizing harmful greenhouse gas emissions.

Methane is 84 times more potent (concentrated, big, heavy) than carbon dioxide as a greenhouse gas in the first 20 years after release.

 According to the EPA, U.S. landfills account for 15% of U.S. methane emissions, but a recent NASA survey indicates that such figures maybe two to three times higher.

Due to the high costs and long lead times associated with the construction of grid-connected landfill energy projects, over 70% of the country's 2,600 municipal landfills don’t have a viable use for the methane they produce.

Vespene said it uses a business model that enables landfill operators to participate in a profit-sharing agreement. In this way, the firm constructs its facilities in landfill owners can use to capture methane emissions that can be converted to produce electricity for Bitcoin mining.

Vespene Energy Co-Founder & CEO Adam Wright further commented: "Our goal is to mitigate a major source of greenhouse gas emissions and help fuel the transition to a renewable energy future by using Bitcoin mining to turn landfill methane streams into revenue streams for our customers.”

Vespene stated that using wasted methane to power Bitcoin mining is killing two birds with one stone – mitigating harmful GHG emissions and assisting in transitioning Bitcoin mining toward carbon-neutral and negative carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions sources.

Why Fossil Fuel Firms Embracing Bitcoin Mining Projects

ExxonMobil Corporation, a US multinational oil and gas corporation, recently launched a secret project to reduce its pollution by mining Bitcoin. The project is regarded as one of the greatest achievements that are being worked to be achieved.

In March last year, Exxon launched a pilot project to mine Bitcoin in its Bakken oil fields in North Dakota. The US’s biggest oil and gas company also has plans to do the same in Alaska and parts of Nigeria, Argentina, Guyana, and Germany.

Other oil companies, like ConocoPhillips in North Dakota, also see the energy-hungry cryptocurrency as a way to offload some of their climate footprints and make revenues through such a process.

These oil firms normally drill oil by pushing some methane gas out of the ground. Methane is a more potent greenhouse gas than carbon dioxide. Therefore, these firms usually don’t want to allow methane to escape into the atmosphere.

Through the use of technology, these companies normally reinject methane gas into the ground. While all that gas can be put to use as electricity, that would require building out efficient infrastructure.

Instead of supplying this methane gas to the market, these fossil fuel companies are willing to make use of the gas to produce electricity to mine Bitcoins.

Image source: Shutterstock

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