Welcome to this episode of Hardware to Save a Planet. Today, Dylan is joined by Josh Silverman, CEO of Windfall Bio, a green company dedicated to eliminating methane from the environment and food production. 

Join them as they discuss the innovative use of methane-eating bacteria and hardware to tackle global warming. Learn about the economic and climate benefits of Windfall Bio’s solutions for farmers and the potential to remove methane from the atmosphere. Discover the challenges of working with farmers, the scalability of their hardware technology, and the importance of collective action in addressing climate change.

About Josh

Josh is an experienced startup executive and a biochemist with a PhD in biotechnology. He’s been working with methane for over 15 years and has provided solutions to big problems with science led innovations across drug development, clean fuels, production, and alternative proteins prior to founding Windfall Bio in 2022. Josh is a resident of Sunnyville, in America.

Methane and global warming

Methane doesn’t get nearly as much attention in the climate tech world as carbon dioxide, but it’s actually responsible for about 30% of global warming, and it’s 80 times more potent than CO2 at trapping heat. Agriculture is the biggest human related source of methane, and Josh and his team have found a way to support farmers while reducing their emissions. They do this with methane eating bacteria and some specialized hardware.

Want to learn more?

Check out the key takeaways of this episode below. Better still, listen to the podcast!

Key takeaways

  • 00:38 – 01:28 – Sustainability with profitability for farmers at the front end: Since agriculture and food production are the largest contributors to methane emission, any impactful solution has to achieve a buy-in from the farmers. The solution has to provide economic benefits to the farmers at the front end and sustainability has to be the by-product. Farming is a business, and the farmers are going to do what is profitable and what makes economic sense for them. Thus, you need to have a solution that makes sense from an economic perspective first, but is also good for the climate.
  • 08:13 – 14:59 – A closer look at methane eating bacteria: There is a special class of bacteria called MEMs whose feedstock is methane. They survive by absorbing methane from the atmosphere and converting it to nitrogen. In Windfall’s solution, the bacteria come in a powder form and are spread over fields, swamps, and all areas where methane is emitted. Spreading the powder in large agricultural fields helps in removing methane from the atmosphere and enriching the soil with nitrogen. It’s a sustainable and cost effective solution for the farmers since it cuts down the amount of fertilizers they have to buy.
  • 25:29 – 28:34 – The challenge of two percent funding for methane extraction: Securing funding remains an ongoing challenge for Josh and his company since only 2% of climate funding is going towards methane mitigation. Investors are more inclined to fund solutions that deal with CO2 removal and they don’t think that methane is a big issue. However, the fact is that like for like methane has an 80X greater impact on global warming compared to CO2.

Episode resources