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Oman-backed flare mitigation startup wins WEF endorsement

Methane-powered mobile data centres © Crusoe Energy
Methane-powered mobile data centres © Crusoe Energy

Crusoe Energy Systems — a US-based tech startup backed by Oman Investment Authority (OIA) — has won praise from the World Economic Forum (WEF) for its pioneering use of waste natural gas to power mobile data centres — a technology that also helps reduce planet warming methane emissions.

A promo video aired recently by the Geneva-based WEF, an international organization advocating for public-private cooperation, showcased Crusoe Energy’s proprietary Digital Flare Mitigation technology as an example of impactful innovation in combating climate change through methane reduction efforts.

Denver-based Crusoe Energy specializes in harnessing stranded sources of natural gas (that would otherwise be flared) to power energy-intensive data, crypto and cloud centres, thereby contributing to methane emission reduction goals.

In the US alone, Crusoe Energy’s expanding fleet of methane-powered data centres are credited with achieving up to 99.89 per cent elimination of methane emissions, which translates to a reduction of 650,000 metric tonnes of CO2-equivalent per year.

Last June, seeking to capitalize on Crusoe’s expertise in driving flare reduction in the Sultanate of Oman and the wider Middle East, Oman Investment Authority (OIA) participated in a Series-C round of funding to support the start-up’s expansion globally.

In tandem with the investment, OIA also signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) with Crusoe to further advance sustainability opportunities for Oman by cooperating on new Digital Flare Mitigation technologies.

The pact enables OIA to leverage Crusoe’s patented technologies in reining in gas flaring in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) – a region that accounted for over 38 per cent of global flaring in 2020. Oman alone accounted for approximately 1.8 per cent or 2,517 million m3 of flared volumes that year. UAE state-owned holding company Mubadala too has signed agreements with Crusoe to participate in this effort.

With the World Economic Forum (WEF) endorsing Crusoe’s digital flare mitigation technologies through this latest video promo, the start-up expects to get a wider international audience for its methane abatement solutions.

The video quoted Crusoe Energy Co-founder and CEO Chase Lochmiller as stating: “What Crusoe does is we build, operate and manage these mobile and modular data centres that we co-locate on location with these waste sources of energy and we use these waste methane streams to power these modular data centres. By doing that we not only create a massive emission reduction from this previously waste source of energy, but we can also produce ultra low-cost computing infrastructure by harnessing this otherwise stranded form of energy.”

Furthermore, with computing-intensive data centres projected to grow exponentially in the coming years, they are expected to pose a significant ecological challenge as the industry is projected to consume 8 per cent of all electricity by 2030 – up from 1.5 per cent presently.

Crusoe’s “win-win-win solution”, according to the start-up, not only saves oil companies the cost of operating flares, but also improves their environmental performance. Additionally, operators receive a dividend from Crusoe for gaining access to a cheap source of energy to power its low-cost data centres, it added.

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