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The Kingdom Podcast
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The Kingdom Podcast

Author: Soluna

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Founded in 2018, Soluna develops vertically-integrated, utility-scale projects that combine its own renewable energy power plants with high-performance computing facilities. Our team sits down with experts in the field to discuss life in a startup, Blockchain use cases, and renewable energy innovation.
26 Episodes
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In this episode, the team at Soluna is hosting William Eckhardt Professor of Computer Science at the University of Chicago and Senior Computer Scientist at Argonne National Labs, Andrew Chien. Our work at Soluna builds upon his research that shows adding dispatchable load not only reduces stranded power, but it also improves both grid cost and stability. Ultimately, this allows for higher penetration of renewable energy within an existing system. His work started with one crucial question: “How do we minimize the negative impacts of computing, even though it’s doing good or serving a useful purpose?” We learn more about his introduction to computer science, the course of his research in machine learning, cloud computing, and clean energy. We then talk about the practical and theoretical applications of zero-carbon cloud computing now and in the future. If you enjoyed this conversation and want to read more on this subject, check out “Zero-Carbon Cloud: Solving Renewable Energy’s Biggest Problem” on our blog: https://medium.com/clean-integration/zero-carbon-cloud-solving-renewable-energys-biggest-challenge-5d1033e2174c?source=friends_link&sk=39b5345edc22d5ef93a6a02c8e7905a3 Let’s continue the conversation on Twitter! Connect with us @TheKingdomPod, @SolunaPower, and @jbelizaireCEOLiked what you heard? Be sure to rate us 5 stars, leave a quick review, and subscribe. To join our community, visit us at soluna.io and join our newsletter, or talk to us on LinkedIn https://www.linkedin.com/company/solunablockchain
In this episode, we’re asking: “What will it take to reach 100% renewable energy?” John, CEO of Soluna, and Phillip, head of Corporate Development, talk to Rob Gramlich, CEO of Grid Strategies– a company with a mission to heighten the efficiency of the development and operation of energy grids. This chat is rich with information thanks to Rob’s extensive experience in the energy sector. You can expect to learn more about the changing structure of energy grids in terms of development and operation and its direct impact on the development of renewables from Rob’s first-hand experience in the industry. Additionally, they discuss the growth (or lack thereof) of energy investment in different parts of the world and what this means for reaching total renewable energy. If you enjoyed this conversation and want to read more on this subject, check out Disconnected: Our Electric Grid’s Struggle with Renewable Energy on our blog! Let’s continue the conversation on Twitter! Connect with us @TheKingdomPod, @SolunaPower, and @jbelizaireCEOLiked what you heard? Be sure to rate us 5 stars, leave a quick review, and subscribe. To join our community, visit us at soluna.io and join our newsletter, or talk to us on LinkedIn.
We talk to Sanjeev Kumar, a strategic advisor to Soluna and Bill Hayes, former Head of Legal and External Affairs at Kosmos Energy to learn more about the oil, especially as the industry faces disruption during the Coronavirus pandemic.Tune in for an interesting educational lesson on the history of oil, its rise as an energy source, and its influence on the global economy. Then, we unpack the complexity of the oil industry from Texas to Africa in the last few decades and the technological innovations that have saved the industry through its historical challenges.We question the future of oil and the recent impact of renewables on the industry, gaining invaluable insight from Sanjeev and Bill learnings from their extensive experience in the energy industry. Could these recent challenges be the catalyst for a Renewable Future?For the article Phil Ng mentioned during the episode, read The Shale Apocolypse, and What It Can Teach Bitcoin Miners on our blog!Connect with us on Twitter!@TheKingdomPod@SolunaPower@jbelizaireCEOLiked what you heard? Be sure to rate us 5 stars, leave a quick review, and subscribe.To join our community, visit us at soluna.io and join our newsletter.Check out our blog, Clean Integration on Medium, for more or connect with us on LinkedIn.
John Belizaire, CEO, sits with Ashley Capuzzi to discuss John’s experience with diversity as a leader in the fields of technology and renewable energy.In this episode, you’ll also hear John talk about his background in tech, his drive for entrepreneurship, and for learning about people, and how he found himself in the renewable energy space.As one of Soluna’s core values, diversity is not only important to our team but truly makes up our company’s DNA.As we continue with season 2 of our podcast, which will focus on renewable energy, we’re excited to share with you some wonderful conversations with people from all different walks of life, experiences, and expertise.Connect with us on Twitter!@TheKingdomPod@SolunaPower@jbelizaireCEOFor more on what was discussed in this episode, read Diversity in Blockchain on our blog!Liked what you heard? Be sure to rate us 5 stars, leave a quick review, and subscribe.To join our community, visit us at soluna.io and join our newsletter.Check out our blog, Clean Integration on Medium, for more or connect with us on LinkedIn.
Sanjeev Kumar is a veteran in the energy industry. For most of his career, he has led and grown companies at the forefront of energy and innovation. As a strategic advisor to Soluna, he joins us in conversation to discuss a bit of energy industry history, the future of renewable energy, climate change, among other things. Here’s what you can expect to learn: What shifts have we seen in energy sources?How have energy investments and incentives changed?What are some barriers to renewable energy adoption?Connect with us on Twitter!@TheKingdomPod @SolunaPower @jbelizaireCEOFor more on what you heard today, read “Disconnected: Our Electric Grid’s Struggle with Renewable Energy” on our blog!Liked what you heard? Be sure to rate us 5 stars, leave a quick review, and subscribe. To join our community, visit us at soluna.io and join our newsletter. Check out our blog, Clean Integration on Medium, for more or connect with us on LinkedIn. Our show was mixed and mastered by Charles Malave. Our theme music is Geometric by At Last (@maxxatlast).
The Soluna team is back at it for Season 2 of The Kingdom! This season we will be focusing on all things related to renewable energy innovation, including conversations with experts in the field. To kick off the season, John Belizaire, CEO, is in conversation with Dip Patel, CTO; Phillip Ng, VP of Corporate Development; and Larbi Louyidi, Managing Director at A.M. Wind. Together, they address the need for renewable energy development, investment, and data center innovation, among many other things. Here’s some of what you can expect to hear: “There is an appeal that the cost of renewable energy makes it compelling to add to the overall energy market. It’s getting to a point where it could become cheaper than coal.” –John Belizaire, CEO, on renewable energy investment“There are about a billion people without access to reliable electricity. That’s 1 of 7 humans on Earth and about half of them live on the African continent.” –Phillip Ng, VP of Corporate Development Sources referenced in this episode: 2018 IPPC Report, Lazard 2019 Cost Report, WE Forum Investment ReportFor more on what we covered in this episode, check out How to Drive More Renewable Energy Development in Africa (and Beyond) on our blog!Connect with us on Twitter!@TheKingdomPod@SolunaPower @jbelizaireCEOLiked what you heard? Be sure to rate us 5 stars, leave a quick review, and subscribe. Check out our blog, Clean Integration on Medium, for more or connect with us on LinkedIn. To join our community, visit us at soluna.io and join our newsletter. Our show was mixed and mastered by Charles Malave. Our theme music is Geometric by At Last (@maxxatlast).
The women of Soluna- Ashley, former VP of Marketing, and Cybele, Content Strategist- discuss their roles in the space of renewable energy, blockchain, tech, and startup-land. Each with their different backgrounds and experiences, they find common space in what it’s like to be a woman in tech and their inspiration for breaking through barriers.At Soluna, our team upholds the values of diversity and transparency. In this episode, you’ll hear how it’s played a role in the way Ashley and Cybele navigate their love for storytelling and marketing.Connect with us on Twitter!@TheKingdomPod@SolunaPower
As part of our book club at Soluna, our team read Superpower: One Man’s Quest to Transform American Energy by Russell Gold. We had the pleasure of talking to that man, Michael Skelly. Michael pioneered the move to wind energy in 2000, when renewable energy provided only 10 percent of the power in the US, according to the Energy Department.In this episode, CEO John Belizaire guides a conversation with Skelly to learn more about his experience establishing the second largest wind power company in the US and the five phases of a development project. John also asks about Michael’s emphasis on leadership, culture, and values at Clean Line, to which he says:“You have to constantly be learning, a culture of learning. In order to do that, you have to make sure people feel free to ask dumb questions.” And -- stay tuned until the end for some awesome book recommendations! Connect with us @TheKingdomPod@SolunaPower @jbelizaireCEOLiked what you heard? Be sure to rate us *5* stars, leave a quick review, and subscribe. Check out our blog, Clean Integration on Medium, for more or visit us at soluna.io
It’s been said that the amount of Google searches done in one month can power 400,00 homes. What does this mean for the future of data and energy?Kevin Kent, CEO & Founder of Critical Facilities Efficiency Solutions, sits with CTO Dip Patel to explore data centers, their energy consumption and their efficiency potential. Together, they take a deep dive into copious amounts of data the world has produced, and continues to produce, and how it can be used to fund green energy.“We don’t want to get rid of data centers or scale them back. We want our internet. We want our connectivity. We don’t want to harm the planet. And that is possible.” - Kevin Kent What should we, both as data consumers and data generators, know about the future of data centers? How can data centers be more energy efficient? The first step is understanding where you are. Liked what you heard? Be sure to rate us *5* stars, leave a quick review, and subscribe. http://pod.link/thekingdomCheck out our blog, Clean IntegrationFor more information on Soluna, visit our website
It’s been a year since we’ve sat down to talk about our core values. We addressed Soluna’s mission to be transparent, to support local economies, and to produce 100% clean, renewable energy in our 2nd episode: What Do We Value?. In that episode, our CEO John Belizaire explained: “Core values are immutable things…. when you first shape them, they are foundational elements and over time they might change, some are aspirational, that sort of thing- but in my view we had to first define how are we going to be different than every other company that's in the blockchain ecosystem today.” In this “rearview mirror” episode, VP of Corporate Development, Phillip Ng, interviews John to revisit the values that have centered our growth at Soluna. Together, they discuss how we’ve remained true to our values, how they’ve been challenged, and how they continue to differentiate us from others. “This market can have dark corners,” as John says, so it’s important that we don’t lose sight of who we are at our core, both as a company, and those we work with. What should other CEO’s know about setting core values?How do core values magnetize a team as a company scales? Learn this and more in this episode of The Kingdom. Connect with us@TheKingdomPod@SolunaPower @JBelizaire66 For more information on Soluna, visit our website. Liked what you heard? Be sure to rate us *5* stars, leave a quick review, and subscribe.
The nomadic nature of bitcoin miners leads to fluctuating research on mining’s energy usage. A recent report by CoinShares, Europe’s largest digital asset manager, found that 74-78% of mining is actually powered by renewable energy. Why is this research important? As Christopher Bendiksen, the Head of Research at CoinShares, points out: educational research for prospective investors (their focus) is necessary as investment interest in cryptocurrency and mining infrastructure grows. In this episode, John Belizaire, CEO, is joined by Christopher Bendiksen to explore what it takes to conduct the research necessary to track bitcoin mining’s energy usage, the dangers of comparing Proof-of-Work with Proof-of-Stake, and what this research highlights about Soluna’s wind farm project. Connect with us + our guests@TheKingdomPod@SolunaPower @JBelizaire66@C_Bediksen@CoinSharesCoLiked what you heard? Be sure to rate us *5* stars, leave a quick review, and subscribe. Check out our blog, Clean Integration, on Medium for more or visit us at soluna.io
Sometimes, transitioning out of more traditional business sectors into a startup can feel like a second life. Paths to entrepreneurship vary for each person, but they all share one thing: the entrepreneurial mindset. In this week's episode of The Kingdom, CTO Dip Patel sits down with Carly Chase, the Managing Director of MIT's NYC Startup Studio and co-founder of Crabwalk. They about their experiences at MIT together, taking a chance on a startup, and the skills they've acquired through entrepreneurship.They answer:What are key skills of operating in a startup?What is crab-walking? How is it beneficial for your career path?What are the common misconceptions about entrepreneurship?Connect with us + our guests@TheKingdomPod@SolunaPower @DipulP@CarlyChaseLiked what you heard? Be sure to rate us *5* stars, leave a quick review, and subscribe. Check out our blog, Clean Integration, on Medium for more or visit us at soluna.io
“You’re seeing a quilt of different [energy] solutions... In many ways, Africa is leading in this thinking…” - Andrew Smith-Maxwell, Managing Director of FieldstoneAs an independent investment bank, Fieldstone focuses on renewable energy in Africa and other parts of the world. In this episode, VP of Corporate Development, Phillip Ng, and Andrew Smith-Maxwell, the Managing Director of Fieldstone, connect from across the pond to discuss the phases of power development in Africa, and answer: What are driving investments in Africa?How is the demand for power changing as electrification comes to Africa?How is doing business in Africa different from other places in the world?Connect with us @TheKingdomPod and @SolunaPower Liked what you heard? Be sure to rate us *5* stars, leave a quick review, and subscribe. Check out our blog, Clean Integration, on Medium for more or visit us at soluna.io
The blockchain community, as CEO John Belizaire remarks, is diverse in the sense that people come from different backgrounds and apply this technology to a wide variety of use cases. Still, there is something missing. Ashley Capuzzi, VP of Marketing at Soluna, says “there’s so much diversity, but no women!” Today women make up less than 20% of US jobs in technology. But, as Karen Ottoni, the Director of Ecosystem at Hyperledger, puts it, women are more aware now that there’s an issue in their lack of representation, they want to do something different, and they’re starting the conversation. Why aren’t there more women in blockchain? What about blockchain, or technology in general, facilitates a lack of inclusivity? How are the women in blockchain ensuring that they’re being heard? In this episode, John, Ashley, and Karen discuss the barriers to entry for women in technology, how Karen became involved with Hyderledger, and the importance of companies being sustainable.Connect with us + our guests@TheKingdomPod@SolunaPower @JBelizaire66Liked what you heard? Be sure to rate us *5* stars, leave a quick review, and subscribe. Check out our blog, Clean Integration, on Medium for more or visit us at soluna.io
Bitcoin’s volatility has birthed many skeptics. In this episode, the team gives their opinion about "Crypto Winter" and how it affects the market. Is bitcoin dead? According to Phillip Ng, VP of Corporate Development,“VC investments have not diminished, companies continue to move ahead... It’s my understanding that coin based valuation has remained pretty heady, exchanges are still getting funded, new projects are still launching…” How will this affect Soluna? CTO Dip Patel reminds us that “technology is serving a need,” and “...What [Soluna] is going to be is integrators of a lot of different components and inventors of how to integrate them, versus the inventors of the components themselves…” What players in the crypto ecosystems continue to grow despite instability?Well, as we know, only the strong survive.Connect with us + our guests@SolunaPower @JBelizaire66@DipulPLiked what you heard? Be sure to rate us *5* stars, leave a quick review, and subscribe. Check out our blog, Clean Integration, on Medium for more or visit us at soluna.io
It’s been said, “If it’s free, you’re the product.” Centralized internet platforms store data that users, the producers of said data, do not own. As Xan Ditkoff, Production Partner of Blockstack, puts it, “In the past, ownership and assets in the digital form have really taken two forms. They’re either real world assets that have traditional mechanisms for property rights… those mechanisms [are] digital and the asset is not really digitally native. The other form being actual digital assets-- data users are generating being the easiest example.” Blockstack is a new internet for decentralized apps where users own their data. In this episode, CEO John Belizaire sits with Xan to learn about another blockchain use case: user autonomy. They discuss Blockstack’s feature in the book Life after Google by George Gilder, the real-world values of one’s digital footprint, Xan’s path to the tech world and how Blockstack is utilizing the blockchain to decentralize identities. “When I look at bitcoin, the fundamental investment is pretty straight-forward and simple, but also profound, and that is for the first time in human history we can now establish digital trust on a peer-to-peer level, globally.” -Xan DitkoffConnect with us + our guests@TheKingdomPod@SolunaPower @JBelizaire66@XanDitkoff@BlockStackLiked what you heard? Be sure to rate us *5* stars, leave a quick review, and subscribe. Check out our blog, Clean Integration, on Medium for more or visit us at soluna.io
Node Blockchain, a multidisciplinary crypto-asset company, took an alternative approach to bitcoin mining in their research paper The Positive Externalities of Bitcoin Mining. The paper takes a deep dive on Proof-of-Work mining and its benefits to the crypto economy.Saad Imran and Bobby Ahluwalia, the co-founders of Node Blockchain, state the goal of their research was to challenge mainstream media, which often vilified bitcoin mining’s energy consumption, by highlighting mining’s positive impacts instead.In this episode, CEO John Belizaire sits with Saad and Bobby to talk about what it is like to bring an investors perspective to cryptocurrency research in order to attract investors and grow the ecosystem.Stick around until the end to catch a Lighting Round with Saad and Bobby!Read Comparing Consensus: PoW or PoS? for more on the Proof-of-Work and Proof-of-Stake mechanisms of blockchain.Connect with us + our guests@TheKingdomPod@SolunaPower @JBelizaire66Liked what you heard? Be sure to rate us *5* stars, leave a quick review, and subscribe. Check out our blog, Clean Integration, on Medium for more or visit us at soluna.io
In this episode, Ari Jules, Cornell professor, co-director of IC-3 and Soluna advisor, sits with CEO John Belizaire in the MIT Delta Incubator at the NYC Cornell Tech campus. Ari applies his various experiences in industry and academia to discuss some promising applications of blockchain and some not-so-promising ones. Together, they answer: What are The 6 Grand Challenges of Blockchain?What obstacles must Blockchain overcome to go mainstream?How does blockchain support a relationship between academia and computer science?Connect with us + our guests@TheKingdomPod@SolunaPower @JBelizaire66@AriJuelsLiked what you heard? Be sure to rate us *5* stars, leave a quick review, and subscribe. Check out our blog, Clean Integration, on Medium for more or visit us at soluna.io
Bitcoin mining is said to consume 71 terawatt hours of energy every year. According to a recent study by Bitcoin Electricity Consumption Index, or CBECI, “The average yearly energy consumption of the Bitcoin network exceeds that of the entire nation of Switzerland.” Currently, the increasing rate of energy consumption is unsustainable and, as Dip puts it, “the bigger it gets, the more it consumes.” Solving this problem is Soluna’s mission.“The energy consumption problem is not because of transactions on the network. It’s created because of the mining problem and the incentives that miners have,” states Phillip, “And the value of the currency,” says John. So,Why is blockchain so energy intensive?What are the various approaches to blockchain?How do we know which solutions are worth investing in?CEO John Belizaire, CTO Dip Patel, and VP of Corporate Development, Phillip Ng answer these questions and more in this episode of The Kingdom podcast!Check out Disconnected: Our Electric Grid’s Struggle with Renewable Energy on our blog for more on solving the blockchain energy problem. Connect with us:@TheKingdomPod@SolunaPower @JBelizaire66@DipulPLiked what you heard? Be sure to rate us *5* stars, leave a quick review, and subscribe. Check out our blog, Clean Integration, on Medium for more or visit us at soluna.io
Ashish Gadnis, CEO and Co-founder of BanQu, visited the Congo in 2014 and was confronted with extreme poverty. It was there, as he worked with women farmers to help build supply chains for their crops, that he realized something was missing: transaction identity. “Everybody thinks blockchain is the solution to identity… that’s true if you are in the developed world. If you are in the developing world identity is not the problem, … women farmers, they have identity cards. What’s missing is the transaction identity… a collection of life events or transactions that happened…” We’re revealing blockchain use cases that are making a real impact on the world. In this episode, we take a closer look at BanQu, a blockchain-as-a-service company that is solving the world’s toughest global problem, extreme poverty, and asking: Tune in as John Belizire, CEO, and Ashish Gadnis talk about all things Blockchain, BanQu’s unique application to better the world, and their goal “to lift 100M people out of poverty.”Connect with us + our guests@TheKingdomPod@SolunaPower @JBelizaire66@AGandisLiked what you heard? Be sure to rate us *5* stars, leave a quick review, and subscribe. Check out our blog, Clean Integration, on Medium for more or visit us at soluna.io
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