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DCS #06 Gonzalo Fuenzalida of Andes

Published: 15 Dec 2022

Last Updated: 19 May 2024

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In this episode of Developing Carbon Stories, we are speaking with Gonzalo Fuenzalida, CEO and Co-Founder at Andes, a company developing biotechnology solutions that increase agricultural outputs and sequester carbon for thousands of years. They enable positive action against climate change by leveraging nature’s most resilient members: microbes.

More about Gonzalo.

Find more about the carbon projects by Andes.


David Reside: Hi there, my name is David Reside and this is Developing Carbon Stories, a podcast about the project developers creating the most innovative and impactful carbon projects in the world. Developing Carbon Stories is a project by Abatable, a carbon intelligence and procurement platform that helps companies purchase high-quality carbon offsets. Each episode I speak with an entrepreneur from a different part of the carbon ecosystem and talk about their journey so far and how they are acting on climate change.

On today’s episode, I’m speaking with Gonzalo Fuenzalida, the CEO and Co-founder of Andes. Andes is developing biotechnology solutions which can increase agricultural outputs or sequestered carbon for thousands of years. We dive into how it works, who can use it, and why it could become a much bigger tool for climate action in the years to come.

Gonzalo, thanks so much for joining me on today’s episode of Developing Carbon Stories.

Gonzalo Fuenzalida: Absolutely David, happy, happy to be here. Thank you for inviting me.

DR: I’d like to start by talking about how you got into the business of climate action. Just doing some like low key snooping on your on your LinkedIn page, saw that you have a background in finance. You found the two other companies before Andes, and I guess you’d call it the pharmaceuticals and like Biosciences space. So yeah, can you talk about that journey and how it led to Andes?

GF: Yeah, sure yeah, so. So yeah, as you mentioned I studied my career working on investment banking. My background is in business administration and economics. I always love markets and while working on investment banking. I learn a lot of great things.

Umm, I had the possibility to work with great people and got a lot of responsibility very young and started developing a career there, David, which was very well paid, but I honestly was a very unhappy person. Up to the level that my Sundays suck because I was thinking about the markets on Monday and everything, right so and not everything is money and I think for me that become very clear when my first son was born.

This sounds like cliche, but I guess when I was younger before having my first son, I had a list of things that I thought that were important to obtain in in life, and many of these are things on this list that were material things. But then when you see the miracle of a of a new person that joining the world, I mean a click inside of me just that trigger and this list of things that I thought that were important that I just trash it.

And the new list populated that that had to do with that with a lot of things that didn’t involve a direct benefit from for me. And I guess this is how nature and which humans are right or work. So yeah, I’ve always been in love with nature since I have a memory.

I remember my sister’s making fun of me calling me Mr. Nature because I could be staring into a couple of trees for an hour, literally. Yeah, I’ve always been fascinated by this natural everything in nature right. So, I always wanted to work on something related with a science, I knew that from very young. But circumstances made me took the path of our studying on investment banking.

Now I had a lack, and while working on the banking industry, and my first son being very young, I started a first biotechnology company. I’m I am originally from Chile from Santiago, born and raised in Santiago. I was lucky enough to be able to work at the bank I was working at that time and at the same time in the afternoon studying my company and that company was successful after a year or so. We did an acquisition of another biotechnology company here in California. Now we’re based in Northern California and that’s where my connection with the United States and California started.

And few years after I remember having a beer with a good friend of mine, a renowned scientist, Bernardo one scientist from Chile, Bernardo, has been studying interaction between bacteria and plants for a I don’t know 20 years now. I remember in that conversation he tells me about how bacteria interacting with plants could have beautiful outcomes that could transform agricultural industry for, for they could enable the replacement of chemicals.

They could make all the process of growing food cleaner and more sustainable and David, I was naive at that point of thinking that it was easy to create a product from scratch from bacteria and converting to something that faster and pushing into the agricultural industry.

But yeah, I guess from the very beginning, we understood where which were the biggest challenges and we were lucky to be able to bring a great team, including the co-founder of Andes, Tania Timmermann, who is a scientist, also studying interaction between bacteria and plants for a very long time.

So yeah, that’s how in a very short yeah, what I studied and how my career developed from being a sad person, very successful economically speaking but sad person into a person that is a happy and yeah. And my Sundays are beautiful now. I love what I do.

DR: Yeah, it sounds like an amazing journey, especially, you know, going even further back to being teased for being nature boy and having had that as well to come with you is an amazing journey. And so, I mean, Andes has been around for is it a bit over 6 years now, is that right? And it’s got again, this is just of LinkedIn but over 50 employees now?

GF: We have about 30.

DR: Yeah, and so can you walk us through those, you know, that six-year journey and how you’ve gotten to where you are and yeah.

GF: Sure, yeah, it’s been a journey with highs and lows, David.

The first two years are developing Andes were very cool and very fun. So, one of the first things that we did was collecting soil samples and plant samples and to isolate the microorganisms, specifically bacteria. So, so we travel everywhere through the Americas from Northern states in the United States down to the South of Chile. We even have a collection coming from Antarctica.

So basically what we did David is we went to very extreme environments with either where either the agriculture was being performed or where you could see plants driving on very harsh environments and what we did was looking into those routes of those plants and extract microbes and this is important because when thinking on developing a product based on a microbe, you basically our vision is being able to use these natural microbes but also engineer them. So, when you think about engineering them. you think of them as chassis and the most robust the chassis the better. So that’s the reason why we studied this process of collecting from these very extreme environments.

And yeah, that took us about two years. And after that, that point we were based in Santiago, in Chile. At the same time, in parallel we develop a way to deliver these microbes on an efficient and effective way and, and what we developed for that is a proprietary treatment by which basically we load inside of the seeds at the bacteria of interest. So as a final product we can have a seed containing the bacteria of interest that performs very well on a specific trait, so that way we can guarantee that every single plant on a field in, say North Dakota or Illinois or a Santa Fe, in Argentina it can be performing and interacting with the bacteria of interest very well.

So that that was the beginning of the company, that that was what I call the first chapter and the second chapter was basically moving here to the United States. We got to a point where we needed to money to fund our research and development activities.

We needed the talent with enough experience to start working with the bacteria and doing these processes of engineering and making them better and third but not least we wanted to start partnering with incumbents on the industries that are were relevant for our first application, which is agriculture and unfortunately all these three elements are difficult to find and obtain in Chile and in South America in general. So that’s the reason why we moved here to the United States in order to bring a world-class team of scientists that could help us develop the products to bring investors that could fund our activities and also to start a collaboration and partnering with relevant incumbents of the agricultural industry and fortunately, we were successful on doing this three things, so yeah, that’s the second chapter.

And for these six years David it has been all, I mean, it took the first year were very fine because we travelled a lot, and we collected all this stuff from these incredible places. But then it has been all the research and development, and now for the first time we have a first product that comes from the technology for carbon capture, which is the opposite that we generate, right? So, it’s very nice.

This is chapter three. We started Chapter 3 on the company where we started offering our product and starting revenue, which is great. So yeah, that’s it. That’s in a brief.

DR: Yeah, sure, well let let’s talk a little bit about the product itself.

So, it’s a seed treatment, but I guess sort of the traditional seed treatment is seed coaching or other. You know scarification’s or something to seeds but how is what you’re doing different to that? Because it’s sort of imbuing these bacteria to the inside of the seed are, is that correct?

GF: Yes, yes, and it’s different because although coating has been the coating of a seed, that means putting the, for example, the bacteria on the outside of the seed is something that has been done for the last 20, 25 years.

GF: But the problem with that delivery method, David, is that you cannot guarantee the performance of the bacteria. Typically, when performing coating you will see a settlement that needs set up.

The percentage of the bacteria that will be interacting with the plants, the settlement typically is in the range of 60%, 50 to 60% and that is not enough to compete with the chemical input, right? Chemical inputs are great because you can trust that they will work as they intended.

And they are very efficient, and the efficacy is very high, right? So, to have a new technology to transform an industry such as agriculture, you need a delivery method that can guarantee that every single plant will be interacting with the biological you’re putting there, right? And that’s what we’re bringing into the market.

For the first time with our technology, a farmer can trust that a biological will replace a chemical input because we can guarantee that that microbe will be interacting with the plant, right? Our settlement rate is close to 100%, which is what you will find from a chemical product, right? So that’s the big difference.

DR: OK, so this um. So, the bacteria as it’s engaging with the environment around it underneath the soil, what’s it doing there? What is it doing to help promote you know beneficial agricultural practises and also sequester carbon?

GF: Yeah, sure. So, we are currently focused, David, on two distinctive and different programmes. The first programme is focused on what we call biological nitrogen, which is basically nitrogen that is captured by the bacteria and the bacteria can transform the nitrogen into a form that the plant can uptake.

Nitrogen is in the case of corn, one of the most important fertilisers, nutrients that the plants need, needs to grow right? There were some nitrogen’s is great and can transform agriculture and the way we produce food.

This is funny because before two German scientists discovering a way of capturing nitrogen from here, Chile, my country of origin was the biggest producer and exporter of nitrogen.

And after this scientist their last name says, Haber and Bosch, discovered this way of capturing nitrogen from your basically, they were able to produce a cheap nitrogen and our country went into the default. Because of that I would have to start all over as a country because we depended very much on this product. So yeah, these scientists discovered a way of picking nitrogen from the air and converting to a form that you could transform into a product. Then pharmacists could apply in the field, if you could look into the molecules that are in the air that surround us roughly 80% is nitrogen and it’s on a form that basically the plants cannot update.

So, there are basically naturally there are two ways that this nitrogen transforms into a way for the plants to be able to grow, one is through lightning anytime you’re looking into a storm, and you see a lightning happening. That energy has the ability to break up this nitrogen and transform into a form that then falls with the rain and the plants can uptake.

So, when you are seeing a storm and lighting that, that’s like that’s nitrogen that is coming into the world, and the plants can uptake from that. And there’s another natural way for, for this atmospheric nitrogen to be captured, which are our bacteria, right and that’s the strategy that we are exploding here and it’s with this programme.

We engineer bacteria for them to be able to grow with corn on the root structure and while doing so they are grabbing nitrogen, converting it into a form that the plant can uptake. Now this is not easy. This is tricky because the bacteria that have the ability to fix atmospheric nitrogen typically these bacteria will fix nitrogen while they are on an environment without nitrogen.

Yeah, and on a farm, you will have nitrogen on the fill, right? And it makes sense, why, why the bacteria will be continue fixing nitrogen already is in that you know, right? So, for enabling that we need to modify the bacteria to unlock their capability and for them to be constantly fixing nitrogen.

And the idea for this strategy, David, it is to be able to replace synthetic nitrogen for a biological nitrogen given by these bacteria. Why we are trying to replace the nitrogen, you would ask? Because it’s a big contributor to a global greenhouse synthetic nitrogen production and use represents roughly a little bit over 3% of total greenhouse gases emissions in the world.

So, if we find a way of replacing that we could start making a huge dent on that, a contributor to global warming, right? So that’s our first programme and nightly.

Now the second programme it’s focused on carbon, and these are different types of bacteria that are working are different to how the nitrogen bacteria work. The strategy that we are pursuing for the carbon programme is that working and using bacteria which have the ability to produce inorganic compounds in the soil while growing with the plant. So, if you could look into an acre of corn during a season. Basically, there’s a huge amount of CO2 that the plants in that corn field will be absorbing from the atmosphere because of the process of photosynthesis.

And depending on where you are sitting on the United States on the Cornfield, that number could be from 90 tonnes of CO2 being captured through photosynthesis up to 140, 150 tonnes of CO2. When you are on places where you have higher yields of corn, such as Iowa, Illinois, or in the United States, so the amount of capture that is happening because of this plant is brutal and the amount of floods that is happening there of CO2 is huge and part of this carbon that is absorbed by plants we will go into the biomass of the plant and another important piece will be brought back to the atmosphere through processes of restoration that the plants do and also soil respiration that that that that typically happens so.

If you could look into the restructure of a corn plant during corn season you will see a lot of looks of CO2 that at some point it releases back to the to the atmosphere. So, it’s a good idea to put a biological rule in that specific place during that specific moment. Fixing at this CO2 molecules and converting them to something that can lock the carbon for a very long time and these molecules that these bacteria are produced are typically bicarbonate and also carbonate minerals such as calcium carbonate.

This is a strategy that is quite different to what has been done in agriculture in regard to current programmes. Typically, I don’t know, David, if you are familiar with regenerative agriculture, so regenerative agriculture is a…well, if you ask 10 people you will have those 10 different answers, but the consensus is that farmers can do change of practises to build up organic matter on their soil. And by doing that they will be locking carbon not for the long term but for a few days.

Right so, our history is quite different because we are not focused on organic matter build-up to create carbon capture and offsets we’re focused on these inorganic compounds that are contrary to organic matter. These inorganic compounds you can guarantee their stability for thousands of years and that characteristic it is referred as a high permanence approach for carbon capture, and it is something that is desired by the buyers of carbon offsets and carbon credits.

The higher the amount of time you can guarantee that the carbon will stay captured, the bigger the value of this carbon offset has for buyers. And it makes sense, right? We don’t want to lock carbon for only 10 or 20 years or 100 years. We want to lock that carbon for thousands of years and that is our approach.

So yeah, we’ve been conducting field trials for the last three years now. Data coming from this season looks beautiful.

We are on the verge, David, of communicating and showcasing a tool that could truly tackle climate change. At a scale of so. So, I feel very lucky, I feel very proud of what the team here has developed. We’re studying deploying a technology that will be one of the key tools to combat climate change. So yeah.

DR: Yeah, and I suppose it has lots of other potential benefits as well, like you were talking about in, you know, in terms of improving agricultural performance.

Now obviously the first product you mentioned doing that through, through producing nitrogen in that natural process. I’d be interested to hear about the impact that the second product can have on agricultural performance, like is there any difference that you can engender by using the product which is maximising inorganic carbon in the soil?

GF: So, your question David is if we have co-benefits of performing the capture? Yeah, yeah OK yeah, we do so the bacteria we’re working with for the carbon programme, besides being very good on producing this inorganic compound, there are also two traits that these bacteria have that have a direct effect on the health of the plant and the yield.

One of the traits is that this bacterium has the ability to produce a hormone that is called indoleacetic acid is part of the oxygen molecules and basically this this plant hormone has the ability to increase the root structure of the plant.

And it makes sense, right? Some bacteria have the ability to induce this bigger root structure. The bacteria will want to be interacting with a plant that is biggest as possible because the bacteria get a lot of nutrients from the plant, right?

So, this bacterium has the ability to affect the development of the structure and the bigger the wood structure, the bigger the looks of CO2, the bigger the intake of nutrients by the plant and thus the bigger the, the better the health of the plant and the bigger the yields.

We, during these three years of our field trials, we’ve been also measuring a deal performance and what we’ve seen in corn is that we can increase basically 5 to 6 bushels per acre.

If you translate that into dollars for a farmer, we’re talking about anywhere between 20 and 25 extra dollars per acre for a farmer, which is great. In the case of soybean, the performance looks closer to one extra bushel per acre, because of these bacteria having an effect on this one. So yeah, there’s a positive benefit of using this technology by farmers, right? They’re not only capturing a lot of carbon in this inorganic form. But they are also experiencing better, healthier plants and bigger yields. So yeah.

DR: Yeah, sure, and so it sounds like you’ve been doing a lot of testing on corn. How many species can Andes like do it its treatment on?

GF: Oh yeah, that’s a good question David and we started at the very beginning of Andes working with lettuce and I don’t know why. I don’t know if you’ve seen a lettuce seed, they’re so small so it’s so difficult to work with, but we managed to load the bacteria inside of this as very small but after.

So, we work on many kinds of seed, and that includes lettuce, tomato and then at some point we understood that if we want to create a huge impact on the environment and on people, we needed to jump into grow crops, extensive crops that are extensively produced across the world and that that’s where we jump into corn. Corn here in the United States is king in regard to takers in regard of money that that subsector of agriculture moves, right? So, it was a good idea to focus on corn. We’re working on soybean as well. This year we started working with wheat.

And, with sunflower. Our plan is also to include other intensive crops such as canola, barley, and rice in the near future. So basically, with these five or six intensive crops we will be covering a big chunk of the land that are that that are the humanity we used to grow food, right? So yeah, yeah.

DR: Yeah, so I mean it. I guess the technology sort of it lends itself to annual crops. I mean, do you see a possibility in the future of maybe being able to use it for perennial crops or even, you know, like a natural reforestation you know with tree species, potentially, yeah, is that something that’s in the future of Andes?

GF: Yes, yes. David, in fact that there is something that we are looking into now. Forest brings a challenge for our strategy. Typically if you if you look into the soils of forests, that pH will be relatively low, and what happens with inorganic carbon compounds with low pH is that a typically these minerals it will either break up or if you are working with a or generating by current, it will convert it to another form of dissolving organic carbon, which is carbonic acid and carbonic acid, is very unstable, right? So, you don’t want to lock a carbon as a carbonic acid form so but yes, as we understand better the mode of action of the bacteria and how we can treat those activities to make them better performing. It is part of our plan to explore operating crops and forest soils. Forest especially interesting as…

Yeah, yeah you know a lot of offsets currently come from forest-related projects, right? So, if we have the ability to those projects make them better in in in in terms of generating more value in this form of offsets, I mean that that’s something that we would like to see and explore. But yeah.

DR: Yeah, absolutely. So, I mean, I think a massive challenge with you know land use and land change projects, particularly in the carbon world is this challenge of permanence. You know, people often look within a 100-year time horizon and often with you know when people think of soil carbon. You know they’ll often think of short permanence. And so being able to integrate the solution where you can have permanence for on a timeline of over 1000 years would sort of revolutionise, or at least change perceptions of that type of land use land-use change carbon.

And I guess I mean it also brings up this question of you know, thinking, thinking from a global perspective on the conditions that are best for growing Andes seeds, like do they favour particular conditions, like in the US on the corn belt you know, could they also be used in a more tropical, or perhaps in more arid conditions? Yeah, are there any parameters around that?

GF: Yeah, that’s a good question, David. We did an extensive analysis on the soil in the United States, Canada, and some countries in South America.

Basically, for our first-generation technology within the continental United States, there are roughly 200,000,000 acres that are adequate for the technology. If you look into Canada, we can add 44 more million acres.

If we look into South America and we are talking about parts of Brazil, Uruguay, Paraguay and Argentina, we can add another 120 million acres for the first-generation technology so there’s a lot of acreage for deploying our technology broadly for the second-generation technology that is coming next year, we will be able to further increase the land that is suitable and ideal for deploying this kind of technology. So yeah, we have we have a tool with that is very much compatible with what we have on hand right? Yeah.

DR: Yeah, right. And so, you headquartered in Northern California? Where are you operating now, and you know who’s using these products?

GF: So, we are based on the east side of the San Francisco Bay area, on a city that is called Alameda. We moved recently to a new facility here in Alameda before we still have our original facility in Emeryville, which was a warehouse, David. We work there a lot of five years without natural light, so now it’s great to have our windows and yeah.

DR: That’s very yeah, that’s very start-up of you, yeah, to be working in a warehouse with no windows.

GF: Oh yeah but it’s part of the story, right? And it’s part of the cool, yeah. We only have good memories from that phase, right? So yeah. And but we are working basically this year, we’re focused on the United States. We deploy our technology on 27,000 acres this season. We’re focused on several states on the corn belt. We’re working on 200 different farms.

So it’s been fun, we I guess the what is very exciting David is that given the business model that we are proposal that we are offering farmers we are seeing a big pool from them wanting to participate in the programme and that and this is a very important because when you look into traditional agricultural carbon programmes and there is always a big challenge of involving more farmers because for those traditional programmes the programmes ask farmers to do change of practises which means that they have to spend money and time in order to do that with an uncertain return right? So, what we offer? And this is because the farmers don’t need to do change of practises, they only need to start using our microbial technology on their field side and that technology is provided on a way that is seamless integrating into their processes, so they don’t have to do any big changes to participate in the programme.

They don’t have to spend money. They don’t have to spend time, and they get a payment at the end of the year that is a guarantee or not, no matter what, and they get the extra benefit of extra deals on the farms. So, and this is important, maybe because when you think about the strategy and what we want to accomplish, we want to create this huge impact understood by millions of tonnes of carbon being captured every season, so you need to have a business model that is aligned with the current practises from the farmers and not have friction. Or when thinking about jumping into a million acres or 10 or 50 right? And, we’ve found a way, you know, for that to happen.

And then this key aspect of yeah, it’s not only the technology working, but it’s. It’s also our partners, in this case, the farmers being with the aligned incentives you know for this to work and grow exponentially.

DR: Yeah, sure, so I guess the yeah, the ease of integration is a real, a real selling point. Is there any potential you know downsides? Are there any risks to using these bacteria and really, you know, generating all those, I guess nitrogen in that fashion or bicarbonates? How does, yeah, are there any risks in that space?

GF: Yeah, that’s a good question. And in part is the first question a new farmer asks, right? So, for these 27,000 acres that we were covering this season, roughly 80% of the farmers participating on this programme this year already did field trials last season with us, so they could see on their fields, better yields, healthier plants.

GF: And the benefit that our technology provides and that was important for them to jump into this year, to commit more. So yeah, in agriculture it’s very important when you are offering a new technology, you are a new product to have data to support that you won’t have a negative effect on the yields for the performance of your and we have that we have years of extensive field trial and by extensive we’re talking about thousands of acres that we have deployed technology from North Dakota down to Ohio. So, covering all the corn belt.

Different hybrids in corn, different hybrids, in soybean. So, we have plenty of data showing the good performance of our technology that is important and that is a good question, yeah?

DR: Yeah, I mean with all these upsides and relatively low risk, do you do you have any sense of whether Andes could be used to improve livelihoods in developing countries? Potentially like is there a role that this technology could play for smallholder farmers?

GF: Yeah. We during our last funding round last year we brought into the company as investor and partners at Bayer, the German company buyer and buyer is one of the two big incumbents on corn seed and soybean seeds around the world and other seeds around the world, right? All together with Cortera. Syngenta is another player but, but player and they are the biggest ones.

What was appealing an attractive of bringing an incumbent like Bayer is thinking in the future and how we want to deploy technology and deploying the technology here in the United States to the Midwest is something that we could easily do ourselves. But when you think about global scale, you need a partner like a Bayer right? A company that has operations on every single continent and have access to to-to-to countries that are under development. When we started the company with Tania, the other co-founder, that was one of the things that we said that we will take care of. We don’t want just to make a huge amount of money on the United States or in developed countries, but we want this technology to be able to also reach those that are not that fortunate, right? And the strategy of developing and delivering the technology through the seed is compatible with that idea, right?

David, you need a bag of seeds can be with the strategy that we are pursuing for delivery, the macro transition method it adds stability to the microbial technology and that bag of seeds that could reach any place in the world, right? So, the farmer can start using that seed that brings either the nitrogen fixation or the carbon that technology and they can get benefits from participating on the programme and while helping to contribute towards fighting climate change. So yeah, that is part of our vision of delivering to the city, you can reach any corner of the world, right? If you have a technology that is stable and can be delivered to the city, yeah.

DR: Yeah, I mean that’s a good little I guess segway into you know the voluntary carbon market you know, Abatable as listed Andes on our online marketplace as a project of high-quality carbon projects, but how else is Andes engaging with currently or looking to engage with carbon finance?

GF: Yeah, so we’re adjusting the process of we were under the radar for a long time, David, while we were working on the research and development part of our carbon technology. Our first project become publicly available, basically showcasing our study and how we are performing all this current capture. So now and also, we started this season, our first commercial pilot right covering 27,000.

So, we’re in the process of engaging with our big corporations to start offering our carbon offsets and we will be doing announcements very soon. So yeah, it’s great to be in this moment. Starting a third chapter where we have our first stop product, and we are studying the offerings. If everything goes right and everything indicates that we will get to this point very soon in a few months, we will be announcing that a huge amount of carbon that will technology capture in the form of high permanent carbon capture and that will position David, Andes as the as the biggest project developer, creating a high permanent carbon credit in the world.

And that is a fascinating. For the first time, there is a technology that is scalable and that can offer a high permanent carbon offset at a price that is like what you’ve seen from a forestry projects, which is unseen. It’s a new category of offset that brings this high permanent characteristic in in into the market. Our targets are, and our dreams of growing are very bold. We want to get into gigaton scale by 2030 and we think we’re well positioned. To do that as we engineer the strain to make it perform better. And as we can deploy broadly across millions of acres technology.

There’s a high chance that we will be successful on reaching that point up very soon and again with high permanent carbon options, right? That is probably what, what, what we want or the ideal right? I’m not saying that you shouldn’t explore coming from avoidance or do permanent. It’s just that today we don’t have high permanence at the volume that is required, right? And that’s what Andes is bringing into the market.

DR: Yeah, and there’s I mean, there’s a massive demand for it as well. I mentioned this on a previous episode that we did about the Frontier initiative, which is yeah, a whole bunch of companies you know, led by Metre and Stripe and you know a couple of other large players as well, pledging almost a billion dollars looking for high permanence carbon sequestration solutions. So, I mean, being able to scale and being able to deliver the solution is critical, but also having the demand side being there means the potential for growing this is simply it’s enormous.

GF: Yeah, the frontier initiative that is led by a stripe. It’s yeah, it’s admirable and hopefully, we’ll see more initiatives like that one happening. That is what we need. Right? Is happening. A group of big potential buyers together and lying on what they need to buy and what they need to do right? I jump into action, so yeah.

DR: Yeah, and I guess knowing that we’ve got all these products coming through we’re in the ins in Chapter 3 as you put it, what’s Chapter 4 and Chapter 5 looking like? What are the next few years have in store?

GF: So yeah, that’s a good question, David. I so this connects with our long-term vision, right? Let me go a little bit back. If you could think about the history not written by the history of our planet. Basically, Earth is 4.5 billion years old and for a lot of for billions of years, this planet was a planet that cannot sustain life because of the characteristics it had. It didn’t have oxygen on the atmosphere and at some point, there was an atmosphere that was saturated with CO2. And one of the first living organisms that start driving on under these very harsh conditions were microorganisms’ bacteria.

And it is a thought and understood that bacteria had a great role in into shaping the world as we know it right now. We know that they had a great role in shaping plants and animals and humans as well. You know, we as humans interact with bacteria, we develop some species with bacteria helping us.

So, the same is true for plants and the whole world right so our vision is being able to use these biological tools to fix what we’ve broken. And that’s we used the slogan empowering biology to fight climate change. And that’s basically our vision, right? We like the concept and the idea of relying on crops leverage on in this first applications and agricultural practises to be able to fix our world. Now fourth chapter is a little bit crazy, and we have some besides these two programmes. Yeah, there there’s a third programme coming, and I cannot disclose much, David.

It is a little bit of science fiction but, but we are building the data to be able to sustain our claims on what can. But it’s basically also the use of microorganisms. In this case. They will be engineering microorganisms, leverage in other industries not related with soil, but will have the ability to sequester abundant carbon and logging it into a permanent form while at the same time core producing other products of high.

So that’s chapter four. It’s a, it’s thinking of find this s a as platform with new programmes that will be tackling other industries while generating a huge impact on the environment and people.

DR: Yeah wow, that’s a very interesting but also partly guarded response. So fascinating. I guess we’re sort of coming up on time. And I, there’s lots that I’d like to keep asking you about. But if we could finish up one thing you know, I’d like to hear what you’re most excited about. You know, in the tech space that you’re in like the other players that you talk to when you collaborate with. You know what do you find most exciting outside of what Andes is doing, of course?

GF: In regards of everything, David, or technology or I, I guess what?

DR: Could be anything. Yeah, something that excites, yeah?

GF: I, I think one thing that excites me very much is that I we are all starting everyone that is walking towards fighting climate change one way or the other. We’re starting to see a lot of momentum for different reasons, from governments, from companies, from consumers, which is the most important piece right? If you look into younger generations when you ask them about what their concerns are, climate change is at top of mind, and I love seeing that. That is not something that my generation has on top of mine, so I am I have this.

Yeah. Good feeling that what’s coming up I. I mean, we’re facing a huge challenge David, that will impact every single one of our human beings on earth and, but we are seeing all these technologies and investors and companies and consumers aligning on this idea that we need to act now.

And we need to have that fast, and that is a really when I did my change in my life that I was working on things that could basically benefits others once I’m not here in the world. Yeah, having that momentum and seeing and being part of that wave, I love that feeling. Yeah, it makes me feel good about the future about the future, yeah?

DR: Yeah, that’s what a fantastic way to wrap up a message about unity about inspiration about global change. Yeah, it’s been great hearing from you, Gonzalo. So, thanks so much for joining on today’s episode. I’m really looking forward to seeing what Andes does in Chapter 3 and beyond.

GF: Yeah, a pleasure being here David. A pleasure meeting you and thank you for inviting me, yeah.

DR: Cool thanks, Gonzalo.

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