Novinium News, November 2017: “Be Kind to Mother Earth”
Be Kind to Mother Earth
Glen Bertini, CEO, Novinium
Our second affirmation, “Be kind,” applies to humans of all persuasions. Customers, fellow employees, our customers’ customers, our partners and our suppliers, our families, our friends, and strangers we encounter all deserve kindness. Being kind is a fundamental Novinium value, but our kindness doesn’t end with people. We endeavor to be kind to all of God’s creatures and our great mother, Earth.
A funny thing happened on the way to Cablecure. Thirty-two years ago when we conceived of Cablecure, we set out to save capital and time for circuit owner customers. At that time Al Gore had still not invented the internet and he certainly hadn’t dreamed about global warming. It didn’t cross the minds of the development team either. In 2010 Sarah Bumby and some fellow researchers at the Bren School of Environmental Science at the University of California in Santa Barbara wrote a paper titled, “Life Cycle Assessment of Overhead and Underground Power Distribution” in the Journal of Environmental Science and Technology. It came to our attention shortly after its publication because Bumby and her colleagues briefly mentioned cable rejuvenation as a promising technology to reduce the global warming impacts of cable replacement.
The paper was a curiosity until my colleagues at one of our private equity investors (SJF) asked for the Bumby paper. They did a few calculations on the environmental impact of Cablecure rejuvenation to compile the environmental impacts of all their portfolio companies. SJF invests in several firms that focus on being kind to Mother Nature. Imagine their surprise and mine when it turned out that Novinium’s technology was far more impactful than firms that tout their environmental credentials in their mission statements.
It has been on our to-do list for some time to further explore the Bumby work. Sarah and her colleagues performed a narrow analysis for a single circuit owner and a single cable type. We wanted to broaden their work. In November we studied the Bumby paper in depth and did some additional sleuthing in the environmental literature. For geeks like me, the two graphs on the next page provide examples of the details of our work. Most of the cables we treat are conductor sizes “No.2” and “1/0” indicated with blue upward pointing arrows in the first graph. The ratio of masses of the three kinds of materials found in a cable, namely aluminum (grey line), copper (gold line), and polymer (a family of light blue lines each representing a certain insulation thickness), are plotted as ratios against the Cablecure fluid mass required to treat each cable size. Those three components are summed into the family of green lines. The very lowest “green” number on the right is 36; the highest numbers are north of 200! It takes very little fluid to rejuvenate cable. These double-digit and triple-digit ratios translate into huge global warming potential (GWP) reductions that are reflected on the second graph. For 1/0 cables the savings are 20 metric tons of CO2 (equivalent). 1000 kcm cable enjoys savings of more than 100! That’s a lot of kindness!
In November the price of a single metric ton of CO2 in California was about $15.40. That means that treating one mile of “1/0” cable creates a potential value of $308 or about $0.06 per cable foot. For 1000 kcm cable laid in three phases, each circuit mile enjoys a value of about $4,600 or $0.87 per circuit foot. Not all North American states and provinces trade in atmospheric carbon. Novinium is already capturing some of this value as customer goodwill, but we hope to begin monetizing it too. Novinium’s 2017 net impact is about 37,000 metric tones of CO2 saved. That’s equivalent to 43,581 acres of forest or 4,163,385 gallons of gasoline.
Kindness is in our DNA. We would be kind to mother Earth even if it didn’t pay, but it’s frosting on the cake if it pays too!