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⚡ "Turning Waste into Fuel"

Climate 21

Photo by Gab Pili / Unsplash

Table of Contents

Host: Tom Raftery
Guest: Andrew Benedek | Founder & CEO | Anaergia
Category: ⚡ Renewable Energy | Biomethane

Podcast’s Essential Bites:

[2:51] “[At Anaergia] we basically wanted to take advantage of fuel to replace fossil fuels that can be made from any biogenic material. It's often referred to in Europe as biomethane. So we take any anything that is grown and then leftover, like food waste, and we take that out of garbage, or food factories, or farms, agricultural residues, like manure and we also do it out of human manure, which is called sewage sludge, or biosolids […] and we just convert it all to anaerobic energy and fertilizer.”

[4:44] “Given the timetable of climate change, which is likely going to be disastrous within 20 years, we are looking for solutions that are implementable without major infrastructure change. And the reason I like biomethane is because it is one of the few things that can be easily inserted into the existing infrastructure and become renewable and not only help the atmosphere, but also help the soil.

[5:33] “There are two main sources of greenhouse gasses. One is the burning of fossil fuels. The other is the escaping of methane from places like landfills or manure lagoons. And methane in particular, is a really bad greenhouse gas and in a 20 year horizon, it's about 84 times worse than carbon dioxide. So if you allow methane to seep into the atmosphere, it turns into about 37% of the problem near term. So just by catching it, preventing it from escaping, and turning it into a fuel, we achieve two things at the same time. We remove an 84 times bad actor and turn it into a one time bad actor, which is, in fact, replacing a one time bad actor that would have happened anyway.”

[6:55] “One of the big issues that's happening throughout the world is that modern agriculture destroys the carbon in the soil. And basically, it gets washed off […] and secondly, trace minerals also disappear. When we take something that was grown on a farm, turn it into energy, the carbon that it took from the atmosphere, and then take the residue, we basically have a virtuous circle, and we put carbon back. […] Ultimately, the main solution to our climate change is fundamentally to take the carbon out of the air and put it into the soil.”

[9:34] “We believe that the bulk of the methane that seeps into the atmosphere, and is the largest source by far of this methane that needs to be captured, is coming from […] mixed municipal waste. […] We purchased and improved a machine that was developed originally in Italy, which takes mixed garbage and simply finds a way to extrude the biogenic material for further processing into energy and fertilizer. That's the type of innovation we brought to the equation to enable us to make large quantities of biomethane. […] We also realized, particularly in the US, that a lot of the wastewater plants could be, […] they could be upgraded to […] generate more biomethane. So we developed technology for that.”

[13:12] “It's just starting now [that biomethane is made] into LNG in Europe. But generally it goes into the grid. And then depending on the location, it gets used for either transportation or just general purposes.”

[17:50] “We're maybe the largest company in this sector, but we're tiny, we are nothing compared to any fossil fuel company. But ultimately, if you're going to stop climate change, there's no way to stop it without a fuel that's either carbon negative or carbon neutral. And ideally, that fuel should be carbon based. Because then it has the ability to be more energy intensive and also we can multiply the size of the carbon molecule, so you can virtually replace any fossil fuel. The lowest cost way to make that […] fuel, I believe, is from biomethane.”

Rating: ⚡⚡⚡⚡

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🕰️ 25 min | 🗓️ 03/30/2022
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