Podcast Preview with Chet Benham, Viridi Energy

Biomass Magazine’s Podcast Series features Chet Benham, President at Viridi Energy
By Biomass Magazine | April 06, 2023

Viridi Energy’s Chet Benham was the guest on Season 2, Episode 5, of the Biomass Magazine podcast. Benham has held leadership positions in the gas separation and biogas processing business for the past 15 years. Before Viridi, he spent more than 10 years working for Air Liquide, spearheading gas processing, biogas and midstream development projects. He also held the title of CEO of Air Liquide Advanced Technologies, U.S. During the podcast, Benham discussed keys to project success, the landscape of the RNG sector and how it has changed over the years.

BMM: Tell us about Viridis Energy and its origin, and what the company is all about.

Benham: It’s an interesting story—one of entrepreneurship, deep technical expertise and a world class balance sheet coming together at the beginning of the company’s evolution, rather than further along. Our equity sponsor, Warburg Pincus, really wanted find a way to get into the RNG space in a bit of a different way, but also rapidly. When we looked at the available opportunities, it was either acquisition, or try to stand up an RNG platform company—we chose the latter … Our thesis was, if we could recruit the best people from the industry and then, turn loose—in a structured way—with a $300 million equity commitment from Warburg, we could find and deliver projects on a really accelerated timeline. By any measure, looking at it objectively, we’re off to a great start. We’ve got four active projects in construction across three different feedstocks, and we’ve got a pipeline of opportunities … we’re really happy with where we are, and we’re finding a lot of great reception in the industry. And of course, having the backing of a word class private equity firm like Warburg Pincus really lets us accelerate, and helps us attract the very best team in the industry.

BMM: There’s so much momentum in this space. How has Viridis seen the development landscape change in the past 12 to 18 months, and how do you play to those changes and looking ahead?

Benham: I have been in the RNG space a long time—I like to say before there was an ‘R’ in RNG, and I would say there are at least two things that any developer needs to have in terms of being successful today. The first is either scale, or the ability to develop to scale and operate successfully at scale. Clearly, some of the disrupted deals in the past have really changed the RNG industry, and what was big even two years ago isn’t really relevant today. In that landscape, you’ve really got to be able to get to scale and operate successfully at that scale, to be relevant. That’s one of the big changes. The other thing developers have to have to be a successful is an end-to-end approach across the entire RNG value chain. It starts with finding the right projects, as feedstocks are scarce—there is a pretty intense fight for feedstocks—and you need the ability to find, originate and develop projects, move them into operations and operate them successfully and safely with high plant availability, high levels of methane recovery, and you also need to have expertise in the gas market … which is one of the unique things about Viridis Energy.

Listen to the rest of the podcast:


Don't Miss an Episode
Biomass Magazine’s podcast series:

  • S2 E4 Experience Matters: Catching Up with KESCO
    Featuring Jason Kessler, President and Owner, KESCO
  • S2 E6 Setting the Standard: Sustainability and Environmental Stewardship
    Featuring Brandi Colander, Senior Vice President and Chief Sustainability Officer   


  • S2 E7 Will Charlton, president and founder, Digester Doc

Interested in being a guest?
Contact Danielle Piekarski at [email protected]