Dr. Andrew Benedek is an entrepreneur who focuses on the idea of climate change. His current company, Anaergia, is designed to help offset climate change by generating “renewable natural gas” to replace the natural gas currently being used. His previous company developed technology for recycling water.
When it comes to climate change, many people believe the biggest problem is carbon dioxide from burning fossil fuel. Dr. Andrew Benedek says, “Methane is 84 times worse than carbon dioxide.” Food waste and organic waste that goes into landfills is being converted into methane—which then goes in the atmosphere. “The concentration of methane is low, but the impact is very significant. About 37% of the impact on climate change is due to the increase in methane in the atmosphere,” he says.
With increases in population, we have more and more landfills, especially in Asia. Dr. Andrew Benedek’s company is trying to convert methane from being a problem to a positive fuel replacement.
In this episode we discuss:
- How it’s remarkably difficult to change our fuel infrastructure, and it can take 60 years or more to do (e.g., solar power was invented 60 years ago, and today only 10% of the world’s energy in solar or wind)
- Why Dr. Andrew Benedek thinks “the problem with climate change is that it’s very complicated”—and that the current structure of government and the four-year cycle of American elections makes it difficult to solve the problem, because it causes a “short-term view”
- Why many technical people are frustrated, because they can see how things can be done, but they don’t know how to get technology commercialized
- How 25% of Denmark’s natural gas is renewable—and they plan to get to 100% renewable by 2030
- How government leadership and incentive can help us change infrastructure relatively quickly—yet at the same time, government often does not make a good business partner
- Why Dr. Andrew Benedek believes the secret to creating a successful company in the environmental space is to “pick a problem that’s not going to go away, but will increase”
We also discuss Ford’s plans to lay off 8,000 people, GM’s announcement that they won’t make anything but electric by 2035; and Volvo’s plans to go all electric by 2030. Dr. Andrew Benedek says “The tipping point is going to happen soon.”
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