Mesa Natural Gas Solutions (Mesa) is helping power computing modules by donating natural gas generators to assist in the urgent search for a cure to the novel coronavirus, or COVID-19.
The computing modules are owned and managed by Crusoe Energy Systems, and will represent a part of its Digital Flare Mitigation™ systems that are currently deployed around major United States oil and gas basins. The generators, powered by natural gas that might otherwise be flared or wasted, will supply electricity for a growing number of computing modules configured to research COVID-19 therapies.
“We jumped at the opportunity to fully support this effort to research this terrible virus that has paralyzed our country and the world,” said Scott Gromer, President and CEO of Mesa. “Mesa has in the past, and will always focus our company’s resources to where they are needed most in society, whether that is emergency response after natural disasters or helping our partners search for a cure to COVID-19. Our generators are the perfect tool to ensure this research will be done effectively and without interruptions to the power source, while utilizing this resource that may otherwise be wasted.”
The computing modules provide resources to the Folding@Home Consortium, a distributed computing system for life-science research launched out of Stanford University. The Consortium allows researchers to remotely utilize Crusoe’s computational resources for the vaccine search and discovery process. They have recently launched a new protein folding simulation project specifically targeting vaccines and therapeutic antibodies for COVID-19. The protein folding project simulates antibody proteins and how they might prevent COVID-19 viral infection, however, the simulation process is very computationally intensive and therefore requires large amounts of electricity.
Mesa’s contribution of donated power generation resources allows Crusoe to double the scale of its existing protein folding program, and Mesa’s generators will soon begin powering sixteen of Crusoe’s graphic processing units that will support the Consortium’s work towards therapy and cure research for COVID-19. Initially, the sites that power protein-folding servers will be located at Bakken oilfield sites in North Dakota and Montana, but there are plans in development to deploy additional servers in other major U.S. oil basins.
Mesa generators are able to provide the large amounts of required energy by converting associated natural gas from oil production sites into electricity. The associated gas at these sites is often flared because it cannot be captured or transported to storage facilities. The practice of flaring natural gas, in which the gas is burned off, is one of the most prevalent environmental and economic issues in today’s energy industry. Massive amounts of natural gas are being flared, with world-wide estimates landing around 4.9 trillion standard cubic feet of flaring each year.
Mesa’s purpose is to curb some of that waste by utilizing the natural gas as fuel for its generators. Mesa was started by former U.S. military members in 2014 and has maintained a large veteran workforce ever since. Offering help in times of emergency is an integral part of what Mesa does, because of how vital power can be in disastrous situations. The power solutions company chose to donate the generators in reaction to the imminent nature of this work, and how important this research is to the United States and the rest of the world.
Cully Cavness, President and Co-Founder of Crusoe Energy Systems said, “Mesa has been a key partner to Crusoe since the business launched. Scott and his team took a chance with us when our vision of Digital Flare Mitigation was just a speculative dream. Mesa’s boldness and support for Crusoe persists today as evidenced by their very generous contribution to the fight against COVID-19. Crusoe and Mesa are aligned as mission-oriented companies working to improve the environmental performance of the energy industry, and today we are also aligned in our goal to convert our industry’s energy into the search for a cure.”