Vespene Energy, a methane mitigation company, announced the close of a $4.3M financing round led by Polychain Capital, and joined by a number of climate-focused funds. Vespene installs highly efficient micro-turbines on municipal landfills to convert waste methane into electricity to power a variety of on-site uses, the first of which will be Bitcoin mining data-centers. Vespene’s immediately deployable, and highly scalable technology, enables municipal landfill operators to monetize an otherwise stranded asset while reducing harmful greenhouse gas emissions.
“The continued adoption of Bitcoin will benefit from solutions that make the energy mix for mining more focused on clean energy. We are excited to partner with Vespene as they build a creative solution to use mining to eliminate a potent greenhouse gas source, while making its energy mix greener,” said Polychain Capital Founder & CEO Olaf Carlson-Wee.
“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,” said Vespene Energy Co-Founder & CEO Adam Wright. “And because our sites require no connection to the grid or pipeline buildout, we can rapidly turn otherwise harmful and wasted landfill methane into a clean power source for carbon-negative Bitcoin mining. This partnership with Polychain will empower us to scale and seize this tremendous opportunity to help solve the climate crisis.”
Methane is 84 times more potent 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 [Nature Briefing, November, 2019, ‘California’s methane super-emitters’] these numbers may be two to three times higher. Due to the high costs and long lead times associated with building grid-connected landfill energy projects, over 70% of the country’s roughly 2,600 municipal landfills do not have a viable use for the methane they produce.
Vespene’s unique approach enables landfill operators to get ahead of pending EPA mandates to reduce methane emissions – one Vespene module will eliminate 270,000 metric tons of CO2-equivalent per year – while Bitcoin mining provides a near-term revenue stream that
serves as a bridge to eventually power on-site vehicle charging, fleet electrification, and grid-interconnection. Bitcoin mining depends on access to large amounts of inexpensive sources of energy. By using wasted methane to power Bitcoin mining, Vespene is killing two birds with one stone – mitigating harmful GHG emissions and helping transition Bitcoin mining toward carbon-neutral and carbon-negative energy sources.
This financing round will enable Vespene to launch its pilot site in California, making it the first company to convert wasted landfill methane into Bitcoin.