Warburg Pincus helped launch Viridi Energy with $320mn equity investment.

By Dale Lunan

A group of veteran renewable natural gas (RNG) executives said June 2 they had launched Viridi Energy with an equity investment of $320mn from growth investor Warburg Pincus that will help the new company scale up a US development platform focused on RNG from landfill, dairy and food waste feedstocks.

Viridi is led by CEO Andy Kelleher, who is also managing partner at Green Rock Energy Partners. He was formerly the head of US oil trading at Glencore and president of supply and trading at US major ConocoPhillips.

“Viridi has a truly differentiated approach, with the unique ability to handle all parts of the RNG value chain, spanning development, operations, financing, and commercial strategy,” Kelleher said. “Our mission is to work closely with a broad base of stakeholders to develop RNG that will replace higher emission fuel in a cost-friendly and environmentally effective way.”

Others on the Viridi leadership team, who collectively have 75 years of experience and have developed more than 30 RNG projects, include president Chet Benham, who was previously president of Unconventional Gas Solutions and CEO of Air Liquide Advanced Technologies US; vice president, operations Matt Atkins, previously director of O&M at Brightmark and a former project manager at both Amec Foster Wheeler and Fluor; Jake Crouse, vice president, origination, who was previously vice president, biogas at Air Liquide; Dana Husnay, vice president, development, who was previously director of RNG operations at Air Liquide; and Bill Keller, vice president, markets & strategy, who was previously global general manager for gas separation technologies at Air Liquide.

“We consider the Viridi management team to be pioneers in the RNG industry, having developed several dozen RNG assets over the course of their careers,” Warburg Pincus managing director Roy Ben-Dor said. “We believe that this equity capital commitment, combined with support from our debt financing relationships, will allow us to invest up to a billion dollars of total capital to create a leading platform in the RNG space."

Viridi is developing multiple projects across the food waste, agricultural waste, and landfill gas sectors, and expects to break ground on several RNG development assets in Q3 2022.