Turning Garbage into Bitcoin with Adam Wright
Adam Wright is a Co-Founder and CEO of Vespene Energy. In this interview, we discuss using landfill methane to power Bitcoin mining, turning waste into an asset, reducing greenhouse emissions, building decentralised baseload energy facilities, and orange pilling local government.
THIS EPISODE’S SPONSORS:
Gemini – https://www.gemini.com/
Cake Wallet – https://cakewallet.com/
BlockFi – https://blockfi.com/peter
Pacific Bitcoin – http://pacificbitcoin.la/
Ledger – https://www.ledger.com/
Compass Mining – https://compassmining.io/
BCB Group – https://hubs.ly/Q011cb730
00:00:30 Connecting the dots and building Vespene Energy
00:07:47 Landfills and methane emissions
00:17:38 Bitcoin mining utilising methane and turning waste into an asset
00:26:15 Selling the vision to landfill companies
00:33:42 Pilot study; business opportunities and threats
00:41:56 Bitcoin innovation countering the environmental FUD
00:47:41 Harnessing methane in other industries and geographies; scaling issues
00:58:44 Growing Bitcoin adoption in state and local authorities; ESG
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“You could either mine Bitcoin on one small landfill for a year, or you could plant 5 million trees and let them grow for 10 years – both of those are going to have the same environmental impact.”
— Adam Wright
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According to the Environmental Defense Fund, a leading environmental nonprofit organisation, methane has more than 80 times the warming power of CO2 and drives at least 25% of today’s global warming. Further, it is a short-lived greenhouse gas remaining potent for just 12 years. And yet, for many years climate change strategies focused on reducing man-made carbon emissions.
This is changing: “Reducing human-caused methane emissions is one of the most cost-effective strategies to rapidly reduce the rate of warming and contribute significantly to global efforts to limit temperature rise to 1.5°C… Focused strategies specifically targeting methane need to be implemented to achieve sufficient methane mitigation.” UN Global Methane Assessment 2021.
According to the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), a third of US methane emissions are generated by landfills. The EPA recognises that methane recovery is not widespread around the world due to a lack of knowledge regarding technologies, and investment challenges. Last year the EPA issued new mandatory guidelines to reduce these emissions within the US.
So, imagine you were a municipal official with responsibility for landfills, and someone told you they would: take responsibility for converting methane emissions into EPA-compliant carbon emissions, pay you for the privilege with a profit share deal, and, for isolated landfills, build out the potential for a decentralised energy facility. In short, they could turn waste from being a liability, into an asset.
This is what Vespene Energy is proposing. It is hoping to orange pill state and local authorities with their vision of turning methane into Bitcoin. This is another exciting opportunity that Bitcoin opens up; another demonstrable rebuttal of the environmental FUD – enabling the rapid build-out of energy facilities across the thousands of landfill sites across the US, and then the world, whilst tackling climate change. It really is alchemy.