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Climate Solutions: Clean Cooking And Efficient Energy Use With Ben Jeffreys, CEO Of ATEC Global

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Climate change is one of the most pressing issues of our time. As individuals, how do we make a difference? Clean cooking is part of that solution. In this episode, Ben Jeffreys of ATEC Global talks about how we can create an impact through decarbonizing cooking and efficient energy use. With over 14 years of experience managing teams across the social enterprise, international development, and corporate sectors, Ben brings an unwavering commitment to unlocking the potential of clean cooking. Never forget that each of us can make an impact. And by supporting companies like ATEC Global and the work they’re doing, we’re heading in the right direction. By educating ourselves and funding interesting projects like this, we can all make a difference every day.

About Ben Jeffreys

Ben Jeffreys is the CEO of ATEC, a social enterprise startup that aims to create global access to clean cooking systems. He is a multi-award-winning entrepreneur working to bring clean, decarbonized cooking to households across Asia and Africa.

His work also advocates for a reduction of synthetic fertilizers that destroy our topsoil, working with organic fertilizers instead so that we can rebuild our soils. Before his role at ATEC, Ben worked as National Development Manager at SSE, Product Development Manager at Oxfam, and Retail Sales Executive at Westfield.

Website Links

https://www.atecglobal.io/

https://www.linkedin.com/in/btjeffreys/

https://www.facebook.com/atecglobal1

https://twitter.com/atecglobal1

Show Notes

02:21 Ben’s inspiration for decarbonizing cooking

05:55 Solutions to a decarbonized future

07:51 Air pollution from wood cooking

08:51 Impact of air pollution on health

20:56 The shift to green energy

25:29 Moving away from microwaves

29:42 ATEC’s goals for household products

35:04 Creating systems through IoT

38:26 – ATEC’s carbon impact over time

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Climate Solutions: Clean Cooking And Efficient Energy Use With Ben Jeffreys, CEO Of ATEC Global

Did you know that nearly half of the world’s population, that’s around four billion people, lack access to clean and modern cooking products? This issue affects women and girls in particular who lose around thirteen hours per week cooking with wood, which causes smoke pollution. It’s also tied to almost four million deaths per year. This isn’t something we often think of in the West but that all impacts our global climate. That’s almost three times more than global deaths from traffic accidents. Think about that for a moment. Lack of access to clean cooking cost the world economy approximately $2.4 trillion each year.

This adversely impacts and makes our global systems pretty unsafe. It pollutes people’s health and ultimately pollutes our climate. To unpack this issue and get to the meat of the problem and possible solutions, I’m joined by Ben Jeffreys. He is the CEO of ATEC, a social enterprise startup that aims to create global access to clean cooking systems. Ben also happens to be a multi-award-winning entrepreneur. This bodes well for the success that he’s working to build and decarbonize cooking for households across Asia and Africa. Ben, thank you so much for joining us. Welcome to the show.

Corinna, it’s great to be here.

As we get started with the conversation, tell us what inspired you to take your entrepreneurial efforts into this world of decarbonizing cooking.

For me, it’s always been a passion of mine to look at, “How can I use the luck that I’ve had in life, skills and abilities to create the greatest impact possible?” You did a great job of highlighting some of the big points around cooking and the social concerns that it makes for people and the environmental concerns as well. When I found out that this is effectively the amount of impact it’s having on people and the planet, it makes it very hard to focus on anything else. That’s what drives me.

I understand from thinking about the fact that our environment is connected. If somebody is polluting in China and they are creating a whole lot of waste that goes up into the air, it’s going to affect us in other parts of the globe. It’s going to create more global warming, for example, because that particulate matter all ends up in the atmosphere but it’s also something that we’ve continually kicked can down the road to countries where there isn’t as much economic prosperity.

As global economies start to rise in certain areas, they also still are kept somewhat down and others. This is an economic, pollution and futurist problem because we should all be seeking to build a more healthy future. I was hoping that you could share with us a simple story of an individual, home or community that you’ve been able to positively affect with your work at ATEC.

We’ve got loads of those examples, which is a good thing in its own right. We originally started in Cambodia and some of the early customers who were traditionally cooking with wood in those areas, particularly women. I remember the first woman we ever worked with in Cambodia and she was spending quite a fair bit of money as well on medicine for various ailments that she had from cooking with woods because she was cooking in this tiny little kitchen that was filled with smoke every day.

She was losing a huge amount of time by going to have to collect the wood and prepare it for cooking and then was having had all these health issues as well. She used to cough constantly and had sore eyes. To go back after she’d had the technology that we’re able to put in and see the changes in her life, she’d stopped having to buy the medicine. She was healthier and happier. She looked at starting up additional veggie gardens to sell at the market and nearby as well. She was increasing her economic prosperity with her health and the environment at the same time.

Let’s talk about the tech that you’ve worked to create. Ultimately, I would like to better understand how these units are essentially used by people in these smaller areas to shift their alliance from woods or other materials that they might burn, including fuels like propane to something like what you’re offering.

We can all agree that very much we’re trying to move towards this decarbonized future where we’re getting everyone this big shift towards electric, renewables, moving forward and more off-grid. We offer two solutions. We do one, which is a biogas system. These are for small-scale farming households. They put this into their house, take the waste from the livestock, green waste and kitchen waste and put this amazing bacteria, which is very similar to bacteria in the cow’s stomach.

Today is a very exciting time because many companies are committed to net zero. Many people are transitioning to net zero lifestyles. Click To Tweet

We break it down into methane, which can be used for cooking and then also fertilizer for farming. Over the last couple of years, we’ve also launched an electric cooking product range, which for us is a very exciting development. It’s a hugely scalable product. For us, this is following the rollout of the grid in these countries. If you look at somewhere like Bangladesh, almost 100% of people have access to green connectivity in the country. It’s still 70% of cooking with wood. We see this as a fantastic way to transition people across from this polluting highly inefficient cooking style to very high energy efficiency that reduces greenhouse gases at the same time.

In the intro, I mentioned how many people are dying from the pollution of burning wood in their homes. This is a hard concept for people to grasp here in the West, whether you be in Australia, the United States or Europe. We are so far from days when we are polluted to the extent where it would create that problem from cooking food that we don’t understand what it’s like. You might see something as simple as, “The pollution index isn’t great. Perhaps don’t go for a run,” but that’s about the extent of it. Talk to us about what the air quality is like in some of these spots and how it might be improving with advents in technology like this with ATEC?

I was in Rwanda. We’re looking at working with a distributor there. Interestingly, I flew into Kigali, which sits in a valley at sunrise. As I came out of the plane, you could see the haze in the valley sitting around from all the wood cooking that was occurring all in that area. I remember going to the distributor and saying, “We know we’ve succeeded when you look out across Kigali first thing in the morning, there’s not that haze sitting across the valley.” That resonated with him. That’s a good example. It’s the equivalent of smoking a pack of cigarettes a day. That’s a good way of thinking about it, particularly in a lot of these kitchens in developing countries.

When we say, “Smoking a pack of cigarettes a day,” does that mean that most of these individuals are dying from lung cancer or is it some other disease that’s hitting them?

There are three main health impacts. One is a lung-related disease like cancer or whatever the case is. Another very common one we see because you’re standing over the fire a lot is cataracts and blindness, affecting the majority of women. The other one that’s a long-term concern is as you’d expect the women quite often have their children in the kitchen with them. There’s a direct link between smoke exposure and long-term malnutrition through underdevelopment of the intestinal system of children. That’s a multi-generational concern as well. The quicker we can get people away from this traditional way seems strange because it’s like, “We’ve always done this,” but we’re on the edge of solving this problem globally from a technical perspective.

You have two basic systems that you work to sell. One of them is a biogas system that can biodigest farming material, whether that be manure, vegetable scraps, whatever that is or an electric cooking product range. Does this mean that the biogas system isn’t reliant on electricity?

It’s a fully off-grid or closed-loop system.

That means that even in developing portions of the world where they may not already have the electrical grid system in place, you’re able to impact them positively. That’s fantastic. I have flown into communities and even somewhere much closer to where I am within Mexico, where you land and you’re seeing a significant haze to the point where you cannot see the mountain. This doesn’t appear all that far off in the distance. I imagine the air quality issues are similar in those spaces but I’m not certain that they’re using wood to cook with.

It’s electric-bound things at that point. It’s the lack of catalytic converters, for instance, that means that the cars pollute a lot more. With the increase in automobile usage, they’re dealing with a lot more exhaust and also manufacturing, which adds to the pollution. If you were to segment that off from what you’re seeing in Rwanda, how much of it is coming from cooking and how much from other forms of pollution? Do you have a way to measure that?

I’m not an expert in that area. That’d be a tricky one for me to give a good answer on but it’s a combination. The general view is what they call PM 2.5 particulate emissions. It’s a combination of all those things. It depends on where you are and what contributes to that. More broadly, what we’re trying to achieve globally is to bring decarbonized electric solutions to everyone. That will solve the manufacturing, cooking and vehicle emissions problem if we’re able to transition to renewable energy and electric. That’s probably the biggest push we should move towards.

In California where I live, many homes have work to go to solar and feed that back up to the grid, which then gets redistributed during usage. At nighttime, when the sun isn’t shining, I’m relying on local power plants. I learned that in California, we are assumed to shut down one of our last remaining, if not the only remaining nuclear power plants, which is greener energy than those that burn fuel.

CMBB 95 | Clean Cooking
Clean Cooking: As long as it’s not 100% coal, it makes you have a less environmental impact when switching to electric cooking.

PG&E has essentially said to the populous here, “We’re going to have rolling brownouts because we can handle the stress on the grid for either air conditioning or recharging your electric cars but not both.” We’ve had, as many can imagine, some pretty warm summers and they seem to be getting warmer. These stretches by which it’ll be in the 100-degree realm is seeming to get a little bit longer year by year.

In California, we’re seeing the temperatures continue to rise. We’ll have 100-degree temperatures in Fahrenheit in the middle of the summer, which was a rarity even years ago. People are using those air conditioners more. More people are installing them and more people are buying Teslas and other electric vehicles because Gavin Newsom had even said that he wanted all new vehicles sold within California to be electric by 2035.

We’ve been all moving towards that. I have an electric charging station at my home. We had an electric lease for a while. We’ve since turned that in and are working with older vehicles at present. Ultimately, this is impacting even our decision about at what point we convert to being fully electric because the grid stability isn’t there to manage both the needs of the people and ensure that we maintain power all hours of the day.

It got to the point where I have even installed a propane-powered. I hate to admit this but it’s true. We have a propane-powered generator. We needed that because we were having such long stretches of power being turned off in the summer months because of fear of fire. The types of fires that we’re getting are often started by electricity. A power line will come down, a spark occurs and with that spark, suddenly a hillside is a flame.

PG&E instead of working to repair all of those lines and getting into the deep woods where some of them exist and ensure that they’re clear of debris, all the polls are correct and everything else has instead said, “We’re going to turn off the power if it’s dry out and there are high winds.” When this happens for a stretch of 5, 7 or 10 days, then suddenly you need another solution. You are in big trouble.

My overall point is that we are stressing the system across the board, even here and what people consider to be the “first world.” It’s a term from the patriarchy so to speak that should probably be put to bed but ultimately, it’s a reality for so many of us that we have to consider balancing when our energy usage is and where it’s coming from, even those of us who were very inspired to move to $100% green energy if we can. Given the frame of that context, what would you say to people like those that are leading PG&E, Pacific Gas and Electric in California?

It’s a fascinating scenario that you painted there because you’re highlighting probably the same challenge that everyone is seeing or grid providers are seeing in every part of the world. It’s a bit different here in Australia. We had our little energy crisis. I’m based in Australia. I split my time here in Asia but my family’s here in Australia.

In Australia, we’re in the opposite season. We’re in winter and there are all these issues around not having enough electricity and gas for heating because we stuffed up even though wearing a gas-producing and huge electricity-producing nation but it was very inefficiently set up. We’re having the same issue but at the opposite end of the cold end of the year, rather than the warm end of the year.

If you’re a first mover, that’s great because you’re passionate about it. At the same time, it also does present a bit of risk because it’s like, “I’m 100% renewable and it’s easy because I don’t have any power in my house.” I don’t think these problems are going away. One of my favorite economists/investors is an American woman called Lyn Alden. She nails this stuff.

She’s a fantastic sear of the big picture. She’s saying that the next decade is going to be a zig-zag decade from an economic perspective. We’re going to go to improve and then probably come down a bit. The big driver around that is we’re undergoing this huge energy transition from fossil fuel-based energy to renewables-based energy. There’s a long investment timeframe for that transition. We’re talking about ten years to transition power plants.

We’re not quite ready. We’re going to have this slightly weird decade in the overview where we’re going to move forward but then it’s like, “All of a sudden, the price of oil or gas is sky-high because there’s not enough supply. People are not investing that and renewables are not quite ready.” We are going to have a bit of a choppy period over this time. However, this highlights all of us. We need to be pushing back our government representatives. Getting abundant and reliable access to electricity is the goal that we want to have for everyone on the planet.

The demand for carbon credits has gone significantly, which is excellent because this will accelerate our transition to a renewable energy economy. Click To Tweet

It highlights for us here in the United States a primary problem of the fact that we have privatized many of these industries that should perhaps be a more public-managed system. There was all controversy here with Pacific Gas and Electric, even in the midst of all these challenges and the wildfires that occurred a couple of years back, which forced many people myself included to evacuate my home for ten days or more.

Many people lost their homes. I have close friends who lost their homes. That was stressful enough but to learn that PG&E had taken their executives on a retreat up into Napa Valley shortly before and spent millions of dollars on it, the perks that they were giving their senior executives who had not solved these big problems. At the same time mismanaging their entire grid structure is almost too much to swallow.

It’s like that giant pill where you’re like, “We have a monopolistic system where there’s about one option thoroughly for our energy sources unless you’d go off the grid.” If you go off the grid, you need to invest in those battery backups and everything else to carry you through the times in which you do not have as much solar energy, wind energy or whatever system that you ultimately install.

It is expensive. They’re also very difficult to even procure at this point because you’re competing again with the rising electric vehicle perspective as well. Most of us who installed solar in our homes had been encouraged at the time we did so not to install battery backups, which may have been foolish in hindsight.

It’s something I spent a fair amount of time thinking about simply because we’ve been impacted throughout the last couple of years in particular and we installed our solar years ago. Even as we’re talking about these particular problems as they exist and developing world countries, as well as the problems that we face here with grid insecurity issues, there is a rising trend of people wanting to go to full electricity because they don’t want to utilize gas in their homes anymore.

There’s this also division where it’s like, “If I do not have the ability to be on green electricity and if my electric company is therefore going to burn gasoline or another petrochemical for me to be able to keep my electricity, at what point does it make sense to make that shift?” I wonder if that’s something you have any knowledge of or if you wanted to share your thoughts?

I’d love to go back to a point of what you said because it is an interesting decision for us in the developed world. This is a pretty simple equation because we do these calculations all the time. We’re looking at our electric products and generating carbon credits for them, which is part of how we fund and finance our products to bring the prices and costs down for the households we work with. If your grid is 100% coal, then use LPG. That’s very rare. Most people have a mix. If you look at California, there’s quite a decent mix of renewables in the grid and gas-fired power plants or oil-fired power plants.

As long as it’s not 100% coal, you are having less environmental impact by switching to electric cooking specifically in magnetic induction cooking, which is where you need pots. That only works with certain pots and that’s the highest efficiency. You’re getting up to 92% energy efficiency. It’s a discussion the same with electric cars. They talk about the long tailpipe, “Are we transferring the emissions further away?” It’s not just that you’re going one for one and energy. You’ve got a much more efficient device here and it’s the same in cooking. I don’t know the California grid but most likely electric would be the way to go.

As you talk about this induction technology, does that mean that you could no longer use your cast iron pans or would those work just fine?

The beautiful old fringe pans or whatever you’ve got work 100% on induction. Cheap pots and pans don’t work because they’re aluminum. They don’t have any inductive material.

I should stay on my present plan, which is when we’re ready for that kitchen to remodel, we will be shifting away from gas. I learned to cook on a gas-run stove so I will probably have to alter or approach the stovetop but what I’ve seen, even when vacationing, other spots and using the induction services, I didn’t realize that’s what they were but they seem to have improved quite a lot over the last few years. Frying an egg on them felt even simpler than it doesn’t in my home presently. That’s fantastic.

CMBB 95 | Clean Cooking
Clean Cooking: When it comes to decarbonizing our lives, which is the broader climate impact perspective, what should we do?

I had to change my cooking habits because if you turn the gas stove on, then you get stuff prepared, come back and cook. I’ve got a three hob Bosch, a super-duper induction one that has this boost function. I’m frying an egg in five seconds with this thing. It’s pretty good. I was always like, “I love cooking with gas,” then I was like, “This is the way to go.”

I have not loved my oven ever since I moved into this house. I’m looking forward to the day when this is done because there’s something about my particular oven. It does not maintain a temperature to save its life. I’ve tried everything I can. Part of the remodel may even get rid of the microwave at that point because I learned that the temperatures inside a microwave exceed what normally exists on planet Earth, which is incredible. It’s because of the water vapor and it’s vibrating quickly. It plasticizers carbohydrates.

For instance, you are microwaving your spaghetti because you want to have it on the second day. That texture change that you sense is because it is become plasticized. When you do that to a food, your body doesn’t recognize it as food anymore. It’s edible but it doesn’t know what to do with it. You’re essentially going to be shutting down part of your digestive processes, which isn’t good for your gut microflora. There are many reasons to avoid it. From this point forth, I am never going to microwave bread or pasta. That’s been my decision. It’s Dr. William Li who taught me this. I’m not going back.

You’ve made my wife very happy because she made me get rid of the microwave when we moved into our new house. I was like, “It’s convenient.” I’ve got the science as to why it was a good decision. She should be very happy.

There’s another thing that you might not think about but he called this out in one of the courses that he offers online called Eat To Beat Disease Course. I’ve been taking it. He says, “I don’t know if you have a microwave at home but have you ever come up to the microwave and hit that button to open it when it’s still running? Don’t ever do that. You’re getting a blessed of microwaves in the face.” I’m like, “I do this all the time.”

I’ll hit the one-minute start on rewarming my coffee, for example. At about the 32nd mark, I’ll be like, “That’s good enough.” I’ll press the button and open it. He says that’s the absolute worst thing you should do. Wait for it to finish its time before you hit that clear button. Let the fan stop running inside the microwave and then open it. He also then admitted that he only uses his for storage. I’m picturing cookbooks and spices in his microwave. Perhaps, that’s a better use of the space.

A friend of mine worked in the sector as well in electric cooking in Africa and Asia. He sold air fryers. He says, “Air fryers are the best thing ever.” I’ve never tried one. I don’t know if you’ve ever tried one but he said, “They’re great for reheating. I can use a microwave but it heats the food I hope more naturally.”

I’ve been told that the best replacement for an air fryer is a standard toaster oven. They do the same job. What’s interesting to think about is the overall power usage of these units. I’ve known for some time that a microwave uses a lot of energy because of the way my breakers are set up and it’s on its little channel. The same applies to something like a toaster because if you’re running the toaster, the microwave and maybe the coffee pot at the same time, you might flip a switch. Each of these units in and of itself uses a lot of energy.

If we’re thinking more mindfully about the energy we use to cook our food as part of this whole process, then we would give up on microwaving our food as well. That’s something to think about. I’m not going to be the ultimate proponent that says, “Never use your microwave again,” because I realized the convenience of it. Especially as a parent of young boys is pretty incredible. We use a lot of things from our freezer that we might then thaw in the microwave and cook to speed things along. I’m shifting to more fresh everything as part of my journey and this nutrition space. More fresh everything also means less use of the microwave.

We’ve done it for years and a little bit of behavior changes the stuff. We’d don’t even notice it.

As you’ve gone through and created an impact through your company, I’d like to know a little bit more about how you’re measuring that impact. What goals do you have ahead? Where do you see this company going over the next years? What do you think you’ll be able to accomplish with ATEC?

The reason someone in the United States should care about someone cooking in Asia or Africa is that we are globally connected. The community and the behaviors happening in America or Africa, when it comes to greenhouse gas emissions, are all connected. Click To Tweet

That brings me a bit to what’s unique about the approach we’re doing. The solutions we do are IoT devices. We’ve got a smart fridge, which in our situation in developed countries it’s like, “It’s cool. I can see how much milk I’ve gotten in fun little features like that.” For us, it has this big added value in these areas because it’s like, “You’re trying to get the prices down. Why add this extra cost of this data connectivity?”

For us, it opens up a few things. Number 1) It gives us a highly accurate reading on usage, which we can then convert into assessing our impact. Number 2) It also means that if you think of the non-American one like Pay As You Go, you can break it down into smaller payments to pay for a thing. Various companies are doing this.

Rather than having to buy their solution upfront, which is hard for a lot of these households, they can break it down into as little as $5 a month to pay us off the system over for a few years, which means the money that they’re earning from the behavior change, guest side and increased agriculture pays for the system. That works well. The third thing is we can then take that data as well and then convert that into carbon credits. For us, for companies or individuals, if you’re taking a flight like, “I want to offset my flights or my lifestyle,” you can then purchase these eight carbon credits, which number 1) Offsets any emissions you’re doing but number 2) It has this huge social impact as well.

We do it through an organization called Gold Standard which is like an international best practice on carbon credits. It’s a great way of not just offsetting your emissions but then also achieving amazing social impact. Where things are at is in a very exciting time because a lot of companies are committed to net-zero and a lot of people are transitioning to net-zero lifestyles. The demand for carbon credits has gone up significantly, which is excellent because this will accelerate our transition to a renewable energy economy.

Our ultimate goal is to incentivize that behavior change directly. With our devices, ideally, at scale, we can be able to take these households who are cooking with wood and say, “If you’re able to change over electrical biogas, not only will it be better for you but because of our IT infrastructure and mobile money backend, we’ll be able to pay you for that behavior change through that carbon credit revenue into the future.”

Ultimately where we want to get to is to be able to make that a seamless experience for people to go, “You’re going to pay me to change this behavior cook, which is better for me anyway like saying someone is paying you to change to an electric vehicle.” It’d be like, “That sounds like a good idea. Why not? It’s already good for me.” For us, that’s how we unlock this problem moving forward.

You’re speaking to something here that we should talk more about too. There’s an equity layer in this because you’re essentially saying to people that are finally getting access to the electricity, “That would equal ultimate access to the same types of power and electricity that we enjoy in the West,” while also saying, “We’re incentivizing you to do this as cleanly as possible.”

With these carbon credits, we’re also opening up a new marketplace for people that isn’t just the plant-a-tree perspective. I don’t have anything against planting trees. We should be planting more trees every day but I do take issue with some of how they have organized carbon credits because it’s like you’re borrowing on the future growth of what that tree will become rather than how much carbon that tree is sequestering on day one.

I question the calculation that has been put together there, whereas what it seems that you’re building is more connected to the emissions that are not being produced, which is directly impacting not only the environment in that local community and the health of the people there but our atmosphere as well. I like that. That’s very good.

At this point, I would like to invite everybody to visit your website. That’s ATECGlobal.io. Take a look at the work that they’re putting into the world. You can also follow them on Twitter @ATECGlobal1. As far as talking a little bit more deeply about how you are measuring your impact and where you’re headed over the next few years, with this whole system that you’re working to build with the internet of things, the IoT, is that how you’re taking the company global as you’re focused on Asia and also Africa?

For us, it’s about, “How can we provide a scalable solution to create this widespread behavior change of taking people from cooking in wood to modern cooking solutions that are decarbonizing at the same time?” A carbon credit is a key to doing that. For us, what we’re leading the charge in is to automate that whole backend system. Effectively, you can say, “If you start doing this, this is great.” We’ll do carbon credits and you can either use them to reduce the payments. Some people give away things for free, which I don’t think is a good idea but you can do it all manually.

CMBB 95 | Clean Cooking
Clean Cooking: If we are looking at base load, be it nuclear, hydro, or batteries, we need to weigh these things against each other because there’s not always going to be a hundred percent elegant solutions.

It’s highly inefficient and not a very scalable solution. That’s where we’re at the cutting edge of automating all this process. If we do 1, 1,000 or 1 billion units, then it can all effectively be run on the same infrastructure and connect to people like yourself, readers myself or anyone who’s needing to offset companies and go, “I need to offset. I want to do this high-impact stuff at the same time.”

Effectively, this links a bit back to the point you were saying. In the developed world, we created this huge climate change issue through our behavior over the last couple of hundred years. We’ve done very well out of it. These technologies are a way of not just cruising across the top of solving global emissions but being able to look at how can we transfer some of that wealth through these developing country households in a way that makes their lives better, achieves the goals and solve some of the problems that we created.

Ultimately, it’s a question of climate justice in a way. You’re spearheading that for communities that would otherwise potentially not gain access to these technologies because of the costs associated with them. I commend that.

It’s a good phrase justice because there’s an interesting thing going on in this carbon credit market. A lot of interest, which is fantastic. Everyone’s not taking it very seriously but there are a lot of people in the market as well who were potentially looking at it like, “It’s fantastic. This impact is great. Deliver these huge profits back to shareholders and investors.”

I feel great to do this but at the same time, we’d need to keep who’s generating these emission reductions at the core and center of what we do. We need to look at how can we transfer that value creation through to them rather than going to people like me or investors. We are already doing pretty well but it should be going to the people that are creating the impact.

What has your carbon impact been thus far since you commenced operations?

It’s over 5,000 or 10,000 tons of offset emissions at this stage but we’re hoping the next couple of years to take that up to a couple hundred thousand tons per year.

Ultimately, all of the technological solutions that we have at our fingertips to improve our reliance on these fossil fuels and ultimately shift our patterns are what’s needed. You do the easy-to-make payments with PAYGO. “As of February 2022, ATEC has solved clean cooking for 5,315 families impacting over 26,000 lives. As far as the hours saved over 2 million hours in cooking, which is incredible tons of greenhouse gas reduced 7,836 CO2 equivalents. Kilowatt-hours provided over 4 million and over 11,000 beneficiaries.”

Those are some pretty admirable stacks. I encourage anybody who is reading to visit ATECGlobal.io and explore this website because they do share quite a bit about the impact they’re already having and their plans for the future ahead. In this last portion of our interview, I like to ask all of my guests a simple question. Is there a question that I haven’t asked that you wish I had? If I haven’t asked that question, could you ask an answer to it?

I don’t know if it’s a question per se but I think a fascinating point for all of us to consider and this is in any country moving forward is decarbonizing our lives, which is the broader climate impact perspective. You said, “What should we do because we’re having these same brownouts in California?” We’re going to have some trade-off discussions. For example, in the West, we are like, “Nuclear is not good.” We don’t want to do nuclear but it is 100% renewable from a carbon emissions perspective. Hydro for us in Australia has always been a localized environment we impact. Yet, it is 100 renewable and great for off-peak energy production.

We’ve all got a question of going, “We have our ideals but the reality is we do these transitions.” There is going to be some level of a trade-off we need to consider. If we aren’t looking at baseload, be it nuclear hydro, ideally, it’s batteries but as stated, there’s a heap of demand in that area, we need to weigh these things up against each other because there are not always going to be 100% elegant solutions. It’s a bigger planet versus a localized impact. “How do we manage this,” is a question for all of us moving forward.

We need to get everyone to move towards decarbonizing their lives, be that cooking or electric vehicles. It impacts all of us. Click To Tweet

We’ll keep that in mind. I will also encourage my readers to go back and read the episode on Energy Ogre. They are a company that is working to optimize how power is used here in the United States and specifically in Texas. We talked about a lot of these things from energy storage and also how we’re creating energy at present plants across the United States and also around the globe.

It proved to be a deep and interesting conversation that I didn’t expect to be quite as fun as it was. We were talking about electricity but it was an intense and beautiful conversation with Jesson Bradshaw, the Founder and CEO of that company. They are directly tied and related. Thank you, Ben so much for your hard work and for taking the time to join us. Do you have any other closing thoughts that you’d like to share?

Let’s keep moving forward. It’s not going to be an easy path but the future is electric and decarbonized. Let’s make sure we can bring that and abundant energy to everyone on the planet.

As you consider what we’ve covered, I want you to think a little bit more about the difference that you can make even within the walls of your home. Can you alter your consumption of power? Perhaps you stop using the microwave to cook your food. Can you decarbonize your footprint a little bit more? Can you convert to green energy and all-electric? I’ve yet to convert to that gas-free cooking myself but it is part of our remodeling plan and we’re actively saving for that.

Never forget that each of us can make an impact. By supporting companies like ATEC Global and the work they’re doing to decarbonize cooking, we’re heading in the right direction but by educating ourselves and finding interesting projects like this one, we can all make a difference every day. If you enjoyed this episode, please write us a review on Apple Podcasts, Podchaser or your favorite app. If you didn’t love it, I’d love to know from you directly as well.

Go ahead and do that rating. Ultimately, it helps us to reach more people. Remember always to lean into discovery. Stay curious and hopeful. Ask questions and understand you don’t know everything. Nobody can. As you do ask those questions, think about that better world that we can create together. Thank you readers now and always for being a part of this show and community, because together, we can do so much more. We can care more and be better. We can even regenerate Earth. Thank you.

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Guest

  • Jeffreys is a multi-award winning entrepreneur that is working to bring clean, decarbonized cooking to households across Asia and Africa. His work also advocates for a reduction in the use of synthetic fertilizers that destroy our topsoil, working with organic fertilizers instead so that we can rebuild our soils.

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