AoR 109: Atmospheric Water Generation and Rangeland Grazing with David Stuckenberg

Livestock distribution is the key to good grazing, and water is the limiting factor to distribution. What if you could have water anywhere, produced from air? Genesis Systems, a company founded by Dave Stuckenberg, now offers atmospheric water generation devices that could revolutionize grazing management. This sounds like science fiction, but there's no fiction, only cool science.


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>> Welcome to the Art of Range, a podcast focused on rangelands and the people who manage them. I'm your host, Tip Hudson, range and livestock specialist with Washington State University Extension. The goal of this podcast is education and conservation through conversation. Find us online at

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Welcome back to the Art of Range. My guest today is Dave Stuckenberg. Dave is the founder of Genesis Systems, a relatively young company that has built technology to generate liquid water out of thin air, out of atmospheric water but does it in a way that is energy efficient and, evidently, is approaching being cost effective. We were introduced by a mutual friend. And I confess that I had not already heard about this technology. And if this works well, it could be quite significant for rangeland livestock operations. And that might be the understatement of the century. And we'll talk about that some more later. But first, Dave, welcome.

>> Thank you, Tip. I appreciate you hosting me today. It's good to be here.

>> Well, I sincerely apologize if I sound a little bit hyperbolic, but atmospheric water generation seems like a big deal. I have been recently reading the book by Thomas Hager, Alchemy of Air, which was about the development of the Haber-Bosch process developed in the 1940s and '50s to convert atmospheric nitrogen into ammonia, which was being then used both in producing fertilizer and explosives. And that combination invention that integrated chemistry and mechanical engineering literally transformed the world's economy. And even today, that Haber-Bosch process, that reaction, accounts for a shockingly large amount of global energy consumption to continue producing fertilizer and ammunition. But going back to water, I mean, there's documentaries, books, non-government organizations, governmental organizations at every spatial scale dealing with the problem of water. So this -- again, atmospheric water generation seems like it could be a game changer. You're a former military pilot. How in the world did you get into atmospheric water generation?

>> Great question, and thanks for the introduction. The answer to that is that I've been a military aviator for most of my career. Prior to that, I was an aerospace engineer. And throughout most of my career, I've also been involved in military strategy at a fairly high level. So, generally, in the military, you have your core career, which may be anything from turning wrenches to being a combat aviator. In my case, I was a combat aviator, and that -- but outside of that, I did a lot of strategy. So I was actually on a deployment in 2016 flying missions in and out of one of the Emirati states called Qatar. And it has a sizable NATO presence at an airbase called Al Udeid Air Base. And over a series of weeks flying sorties in and out of Syria, Iraq, and Afghanistan, observed what I thought was something strange and I couldn't make sense of, and it was hundreds and hundreds of tanker trucks lining up every morning very near the end of the runway. And so as I say, I got curious and I educated myself on what was going on. And I learned that it was one of the last aquifers in Qatar and they were pulling water out of it. And I asked what they were doing with the water. And I learned that they were essentially pouring it out on the ground, irrigating palm trees. And -- so then I kind of took the questioning to the next level. And I asked what happens once that's gone. And I learned that the state, which had a population of about 3.5 million people, including the center of operations for the Middle East and North Africa for NATO and the allies at that time would be solely dependent on desalinated water from the Arabian Gulf. And that struck me as a significant strategic vulnerability. Because if you were to disrupt those desalinization facilities, you would have no water and without water in three days, you cease.

>> So you -- I want to come right back to that, but you -- so you were working in aerospace engineering before you went into the military?

>> Yeah. That -- I have an undergrad degree in aerospace science and engineering.

>> What -- so what is this technology look like? Pulling water out of the air, we're calling it atmospheric water generation. This sounds like a giant dehumidifier, which I'm familiar with because I grew up in Arkansas, and people would stick these things in the various rooms that needed to not get too humid. How is this different than just a giant condenser? Or is it a giant condenser?

>> No, not necessarily. The science is actually quite complex because we're dealing with fluidics. And we're doing something different than what you might otherwise see in a lot of the systems that have been available since, really, maybe the 1990s or even later. Truly, dehumidifiers had been around for a long, long time. And prior to that, you know, there were older methods in use, maybe in South America and the Andes, rain nets, where they would capture, you know, humidity from the air on a collection surface and then channel that into pipes and irrigate with it. What we're doing different is fundamentally different in that most of the systems that are out there today in the marketplace, essentially, are what we call direct air cooling. And so from kind of a conceptual standpoint, think of it like trying to cool a block of foam. It's very futile and it would take a lot of energy to change the temperature of that block of foam. But if you think about it --

>> Right, so conductive.

>> Right, air is an insulator. You know, if we were at a high climate and it's cool, we're trying to use layers of clothing to trap those layers of air between them and hold the temperature, our body heat. So at the end of the day, that's really not the best way to go around trying to extract moisture from the air, you're working uphill against physics. So there are properties of fluids. If you go in a different direction, that tend to work to our advantage, essentially create a downhill scenario. And that's really what we've been doing for the last seven years on the fundamental research. And now applied research is developing fluids that essentially do what the ocean does. The ocean is a hydroscopic body of water that actually pulls fresh water into itself and it balances itself in terms of salinity. And so the method we use has often been referred to as biomimicry where we're looking at nature and saying, "What can we do that is in balance with nature to accomplish something in terms of water supply that will not put the ecology out of whack?" And so it's always been important for us as a company to work on the problem in a way that actually meets the need, but it also doesn't create a second, third order effects. So we're very concerned internally as we develop solutions to make sure that they don't cause any challenges later. And so what's interesting is the air contains tremendous amounts of water and the heat holding capacity of that water is about six times that of CO2. So when we actually remove water from the air, we're reducing a greenhouse gas and one that holds more heat than carbon does. And that's exciting. Because when we take that water out, we're going to do something with it that humanity needs for its well-being and for the health of economies. So that is the sole focus of Genesis, our mission, from inception for the very first day and the very first hour has been to sustainably solve global water scarcity. And to do that, you really had to overcome two technical barriers. And without getting into the weeds of how everything works, those technical barriers that we had to overcome, much like the sound barrier, were number one, overcoming the challenge of scale, meaning when we had to develop solutions, we're developing solutions that would be feasible for agriculture, irrigation, watering animals, or, you know, a large chip-making facility. So that's what we mean by scale. And then on the other end, we had to do that efficiently. You can't have, as they do in Dubai, seven power plants to run your DSL facility. It's not affordable and it certainly won't be able to be an infrastructure that you can implement in rural areas where there's not a tremendous budget. So with that, we needed low cost, and to get to low cost, you have to understand the relationship between energy and water that is developing. And I recently gave a present intuition at Oracle and spoke about the tightening relationship between water and energy. And yesteryear, there was always a supply at the head of the pipe, maybe a well, maybe a stream, maybe a lake. Those sources are going dry. We've, you know, used that water to build our society with and much of the world has also used theirs. Those sources are, what we say, going, going, gone. Going forward, we need to use energy to generate water. But the more efficient we can be with that energy, we're better so that this is sustainable. The bottom line here, we are on a quest for what we call the Holy Grail. I know that might sound, you know, a little like an anecdote, but the holy grail of water is really our technical goal as a company. And how we state that very succinctly is that when we are through creating this technology, we would like to have the lowest cost produced water on Earth. So if you're buying from a county, or a municipality, or from a water truck, we would like to provide humanity a better opportunity to have water where and when they need it. And they can generate that locally at the point of need.

>> Yeah, that's crazy. I'm obviously not a product promotion guy or I would have started with more of a sales pitch. And I guess I should say, for the listener, I'm not getting any kind of commission on this. I'm just genuinely interested. And it's interesting, too, that you use the term, the holy grail. Maybe we can transition to a little bit on livestock production. But particularly in the arid and semi-arid parts of the world, including the entire West United States, water tends to be the limiting factor to the holy grail of livestock grazing, especially on rangelands, which is animal distribution. I mean, the water limits, both where it's possible to graze, as well as drives the, you know, spatial or the terrain use patterns of livestock where animals do graze and also tends to be the water -- surface water, in particular, tends to be the focal point for conflicts over public rangelands and private rangelands both. So I think that's maybe the -- not an inaccurate term. And I'm curious about -- you mentioned in the short speech you gave at the company launch, I don't know, a couple years ago that you sometimes wonder what life would have looked like if you had gone into ranching. So you have some background there. What's your history with ranching?

>> You did your homework. So I grew up on ranches in both Oklahoma and Texas. And it was the family business. And, you know, water was always a concern at that time as well. In particular, you know, it's always a constraint. You're almost at the tail of the whip, if you will, in terms of seasonality. And so I think the conditions that we're dealing with here in the United States are not unlike what most of the world is experiencing, where I spoke to the ambassador to the United Nations for Gambia some years back and he shared a story with me about the reliability of rains. It's about 230 of the Gambian, which is in West Africa, but it's about two-thirds of the economy there is based on agriculture and growing. And they used to be able to count on the seasonal rains, you know, to -- within a few weeks and that was what kick-started their economy every year. And now, it can be months and months before the rains show or maybe some seasons that skips. And so I remember him telling me, you know, "I would like systems here to stabilize this area and here and these areas outside of the larger cities." And so, you know, what I think is even more concerning is if you look at a lot of the larger growing operations across the high plains, which we know is the breadbasket of the world, and other areas such as the West Coast in California, we recently had a conversation with a sizable berry grower in the United States. I won't mention the name, but, you know, we learned that they only grow in California now because they want to maintain the label on the fruit. And that label says, you know, "Grown in California." Otherwise, they're exporting about 90% of their growing to Mexico. And very little is actually being done in California because they lose money on all of the produce that they grow there because of the water issues. And, of course, if you look over toward Texas and the Ogallala and the Panhandle and Eastern New Mexico, when I was stationed in at Cannon Air Force Base in 2011, I first learned of water scarcity there locally in the barber shop. And at that time, the old timers were talking about how the pivot arm irrigation circles and the pumps and the wells that those were reliant on were drying up back then in 2011 at a rate of 30 to 50 wells a day. So can you imagine that you're losing 50 full pivot arm irrigator lots per day across the United States? Or that was just that region at the time. So I don't know what the aggregated number is, but it must be significant. And, you know, obviously, this water was put down thousands of years ago. And as the water table falls, you know, that water becomes brackish. So the question then becomes, well, how do we do ag next? How do we begin feeding, you know, not only the United States but the world's population next? And while there's some great methods coming forward, such as indoor agriculture and other efficient means of farming, the concern, that is preeminent above all, is not necessarily where I'm going to -- you know, going to get fertilizer or what pesticide I'm going to use or even, you know, seeds and seed stock. It's [inaudible].

>> So where do I get water? Yeah.

>> And if you look at the indoor growing, in terms of some of the challenges with that, you can think about maybe taking, you know, a sizable farming operation and moving that indoors, where you're getting exceptional yields, maybe 20x per square foot of that -- you know, over that of a field crop. But the challenge then becomes concentrating that water that otherwise might be spread out over, you know, several thousand acres into a single facility. And now you have to have a source of water for that. So, really, at the very core of Genesis Systems, and I've actually never said this on any kind of interview, but the true genesis of Genesis, what it was created for, what are water tube systems were created for, was to support agriculture. They were designed from inception to support food. And -- but everything has a water footprint. If I'm, you know, growing an avocado, that's 14 to 16 gallons of water. But if I'm producing a cellular phone, that's 3,100 gallons of water. And so, increasingly, what we see is large industry coming into competition with the water that is needed for the food supply. And a great example is in the Texas Panhandle, where you have tremendous amounts of activities surrounding energy generation, both oil, natural gas, and so forth, and fracking, and then you have a lot of food growing going on. So my -- you know, my question today is, what do you do next? Once you've withdrawn all of the water that there is to get from underground, does that area become completely desolate? Or do you transition to other means of creating a sustainable water supply? And so that really is the tiger we have by the tail. And, you know, while there's other techniques of making water from air, this is really not a problem that you can address unless you can make acre feet of water and provide a sizable amount because it takes a lot to get the work done.

>> Well, that seems like the place to do the product pitch. So your company, in case I haven't said it yet or you haven't, is that you're producing devices of various sizes that create liquid water out of thin air. Not quite -- that actually works better with thick air but it's not quite ex nihilo, but it would feel like it at the source. Am I characterizing that right?

>> Yeah. Well, you just used a Latin phrase there. I'm not sure that our audience knows what it means, but you said ex nihilo, which is from nothing life. It's, you know, an ancient phrase and, you know, the idea of the companies that we can use all that is in the air. And there's a tremendous amount of different properties of air. And not only is there water, there are other noble gases and things that are useful to industry and society and health. And so we want to use that as a feedstock to do the things we need to do in terms of getting work done. So the good news, though, is that if we access all of the water in the air to water humanity, it still wouldn't make a dent in it. And so from an equivalency standpoint, we had a mathematician kind of do the math. And we had a question posed. And so the question was, well, if we took all humanity's water out of the year, wouldn't that kind of dry things out? So the equivalent would be, you or I are going down to the coast of an ocean putting our foot in the water and concerning ourself about a rising sea level because of the displacement of our foot in the water. So it is really, really a small fraction of the total quantity that is available, even if we put all of humanity on a water supply that was sustainable. And so just to kind of give you some rough numbers, orders of magnitude how much water is in the air? According to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, there are approximately 37 quadrillion tons of water in the air. And so if you've put that into, you know, a bowl or some volume to try to compare to, it's 85 times all of the lakes, rivers, and streams on Earth.

>> Yeah, it seems like -- I mean, in conversations that I've had, just casual conversations with folks about this technology, that's the first question is, what's the environmental risk of taking a lot of water out of the air? And you've answered it. But, you know, if I was a reporter for the New York Times and I was doing a hostile interview, I would say the whole world is concerned about global warming, desertification. How is taking water out of the atmosphere a good idea? And you've offered a couple answers for that already.

>> Yeah, indeed. I think I would also tell you that probably scientists have missed the boat. We need water, we need to recover water. And I think you have to be smart about, what are the smartest things we can do to be imbalanced with nature and be good stewards of our planet. You know, that's really what farming, ranching, and agriculture is about. It's about stewardship, right? No farmer, in his mind, would completely, obviously, run himself into the ground in one season knowing he's got nothing for the next. It's about, you know, letting out the line in a way that keeps it going. So that's really how we think at Genesis. And as you think about capturing water, what I will tell you is, there is no lack of controversy over, you know, the status of global warming, whether that is human made or whether that is driven by cyclical cycles. Certainly, no one would disagree that we are in a period of warming that is not an ice age, right? Or maybe even some would disagree with that. But for the sake of this argument, let's say that we are not in an ice age right now.

>> Sure.

>> And I think that the facts bear that out. And so what does that mean? Well, it means that, you know, the temperature of earth is heating. And if we look at what heating does when we're in a greenhouse, we know that that causes more water to evaporate, right? So when more water evaporates into the atmosphere, it traps even more heat and, hence, causes the atmosphere to become even warmer and is catalytic. So as we move water out of the year, it is helpful, not harmful. And I think it's probably one of the biggest opportunities that we have to not only manage our own water supply but to help us be in balance with nature. That said, from a mathematical standpoint, if we take water out of the year, unlike taking it out of an aquifer, the water is generally evaporated and put back somewhere in the world in between nine minutes and nine days. Whereas if we take water out of an aquifer out of the ground, we're looking at hundreds of years to a thousand years to recharge. And so in terms of, you know, sustainability or renewability, it's a better proposition.

>> Well, I think if -- I think you've answered that question really well as to whether or not it's sustainable at a global scale. What I hear you saying is that even if all of the human need for water was pulled out of the atmosphere, it would not even make a dent. But if I'm a rancher -- and on this podcast, we probably have about half of the listeners that are ranchers and half that are what I call natural resource professionals. You know, BLM, Forest Service, state agency range cons, consultants, students, professors, research scientists. And I'd be asking the question now. So, yeah, I've got a mother -- a cow herd of 500 mother cows. And when their demand for water is low, maybe 10 gallons per head per day, you know, that is a daily requirement of about 5,000 gallons. When they have higher water needs, it's going to be, you know, double that or a little bit better. So you're saying you have a device that can generate that amount of water anywhere that I have livestock.

>> Yes. So it's largely temperature and humidity dependent. So the systems that would make 5,000 gallons a day are generally rated at about 60% relative humidity, because that's the average humidity throughout the world, and 80 degrees Fahrenheit. So because I'm dealing with a physical property of air, which is how much physical water is in it, if I have a higher humidity and I have a system that is rated to make 5,000 gallons a day, if I have 70% humidity, I'm going to generate actually quite a bit more water than the system is rated to produce. And the converse is also true. If I have 30% humidity, I'm going to generate less water than the system is ready to produce. So, generally, what we look at is when we're trying to provide a baseline. For instance, I'm having some conversations right now with the UN FAO on this very thing. They've got a country that, during certain part of the year, the humidity falls below 20%. That's really not a lot of water vapor contained in that volume of air. So what we would do, that same country has periods of the year where the humidity is over 70% or 80%. So what you'd want to do is, obviously, set up the systems to work year round and bank some of that water that is going to be produced in the high humidity season and begin to smooth that across the low humidity season so that you can make that water last all year round. Does that make sense?

>> It does. Yeah, I'm looking at WSU's AgWeatherNet stations across eastern Washington. And it ranges from 20% to 40% humidity today. So that kind of environment, you're saying you would likely need some water storage to even out the supply if you're trying to water a large number of animals?

>> Yeah, that's what I would do or, you know, the -- what you can also do is you can build a surplus of supply. So in the case, if you had humidity dropping from, you know, around 20% to 30%, you could build a -- put a couple of systems together to build 10,000 gallons a day, run those, and then have a surplus. So, really, I think the goal of some of the customers we have is to be water positive. There's a lot of folks who say, "You know, I need this much water, but I want to be able to have some to sell or do something back in the community with." And so those are aspirational things that a lot of folks are after. But nonetheless, these systems are part of a technology group that is young. It's coming of age. And, really, if you look at the technology groups across the world, this is probably one of the most hopeful technologies to come of age, in at least the last 25 years in terms of major need that supports both health, economy, and food and agriculture, and all the areas in between.

>> Yeah, I'm not even in this business space and I could list a lot of potential applications off the top of my head, you know, tying a small system to residential construction in Phoenix or Los Angeles, people that are living off of the electrical grid or water grid villages in Africa, military, forward operations, and, of course, grazing operations all over the world. What -- you're relatively young, what are you chasing right now in terms of -- it seems like residential would be one of the most lucrative areas because there's more money there. But what has been the main applications that you've been selling to or providing for so far?

>> Some of that is a little bit close hold. But what I will tell you is that we have had interest from across the used space from residential, commercial to industrial to country level. And in a very ironic twist, not, you know, right out about five years after Genesis was founded and moving down the highway pretty well with its technologies. The US Department of State and the senior defense attache in Doha, which is Qatar, brought one of the crown princes, along with some deputy defense ministers to Genesis Systems and said, "You need these technologies." So that was -- remember if we started as -- that was the country that we had observed beginning to run out their native source of water. And so we see these situations happening all over the world. And I think it's really interesting, we need to be ready to embrace change as the community of human beings on earth. We have been a little bit of a locust, I think, in some cases, to the water supplies, we've mismanaged them. And now we have to do some things differently. And so I think people are beginning to understand that very quickly. I think the good news is investors are beginning to understand that very quickly. There was an interesting comment made to investors of, what was at time the largest bank in the world, Citigroup, by Willem Buiter, who was the chief economist. And in 2011, he had a meeting of some of the largest stakeholders at Citi and he said, "Water is going to become a very, very important asset class." And he said, "It will begin to dwarf oil, copper, precious metals and gold." And so was funny, Genesis actually was presented an opportunity to brief Citigroup for the first pitch that the company ever did. And it was to the number four, Citi, same as word Marsh. And on my cover slide, I had that quote from their chief economist and he stopped me before I started my presentation. And I think he thought that the quote was a little on the chin. And he said, "Did you put that on the cover slide because you were coming here today?" And I said, "No, I put it on the cover slide because I believe that is going to happen." And so we finished the presentation. And when he was thoroughly impressed at the end, you know, he congratulated us. And the next day, Goldman Sachs called and asked us if we wanted to exit the company and they were going to buy it. And we hadn't been incorporated that long. But for us, this wasn't a play for economics, this was a play for solving the hard problems of our age. Every single person, every scientist, every engineer who works at Genesis is invested in the solution. This is for all of us. This has very little to do with greed or selfish ambition. And so as we look at the course, that we are on in terms of the science and the breakthroughs that we're making in the lab, most of those which are not in published literature yet, you know, I would put it on par with Nobel level research. And I wouldn't be surprised if some of the scientists here go on to win the Nobel Prize because the impact that some of these technologies will have in solving, you know, nation scale problems and preventing famine, I think, will be recognizable in our lifetime.

>> Yeah. When I was reading the book about the Haber-Bosch process, you know, there were a lot of people that were trying to do the same thing at around that time. And somebody's got to get there first and they patent it. Who else is trying to do this? And what sets you apart? You certainly won quite a few significant business awards in both business and humanitarian stuff and technology. But what is the competition like? I assume somebody else has attempted to do the same thing.

>> There have been a lot of laurels given to the company. And, you know, we always appreciate the recognition for the hard work of the team and all the hours they spend and the weekends they work through. In the holidays, they don't take and, trust me, there are many, because every day that we're working, we're very keenly aware of the fact that water scarcity is a problem that isn't just measured in terms of dollars and cents. It's a problem that is manifesting and it's measured in lives cost. And those lives are in the hundreds of thousands every year, arising of water scarcity, cholera, and all of the other waterborne illnesses that arise of having to try to use water from sources that is unclean or contaminated. So from the standpoint of who's working on the supply side water problems, in my understanding, we are the only company in the world that is doing the things that we are doing, that I am really, really not pleased to report. And I -- and there's a reason behind it. And that is that, you know, humanity has challenges moving through paradigms. We tend to be anchored in the things that we know. And if you think about it, since antiquity, we had moved water through pipes, even prior to the Roman Empire. You know, the Hittites were moving water through pipes and on canals and certainly through aqueducts. So we think that this will be solved through concrete and rebar. And a great example is the Desert Southwest we had mentioned a minute ago. They're running out of water. Well, in steps, the government then says, "I'm the government, I'm here to help." And then water prices for farmers goes up 25x, right? So --

>> Right, because we build dams and canals.

>> Right. Well, we borrowed from the future, we borrowed from the future. And now as they're looking at trying to alleviate the problem, there's no shortage of discussion about building diesel plants down in the Baja and moving piping through hundreds and hundreds of miles of, you know, mountainous terrain to move water over hill and dale. Well, on those projects, you lose about 33% of the water that you push through pipes. Those pipes, even a modest sized pipe, run about $2 million a mile. And it's tremendously expensive. And so one of our early investing companies is a publicly traded company. I won't mention the name, but they're -- it's one of the largest construction companies in the United States. And they built some infrastructure in Lake Mead. And they realized that this problem wasn't going away anytime soon. And if you, you know -- this company has built sizable projects around the United States that are iconic. And if I say which ones, it'll give it away. But bottom line is that they knew that not -- there's no amount of concrete and rebar in the world that is going to solve water scarcity if we continue doing things the way we've always done it. And so they became part of, you know, the ownership of the company and realize that we really do have to begin moving towards new paradigms. And the new paradigm that Genesis is going to move us towards is that the old one represented water that was condensed, it represented water that was in a source that you could draw from, such as a well or a lake or a river. We're crossing the Rubicon into being able to use water efficiently at scale from the air and its vapor state. And that is a very large change in mindset for most people. And so -- but there's tremendous excitement around the systems that will, you know, in fact, this year and next year, be made available to the public to buy. And so we are a very unique company in the world. There are certainly a number of companies that are out there and they're moving the needle. They're making contributions. But a lot of the technologies that they're using are what we would call legacy. You know, air conditioning, I believe, was brought forward at the third World's Fair, it's been a minute, but that's what they're using to capture water from the atmosphere. And while it might make a contribution in some use cases, it can't really begin to solve the order of magnitude problems that Genesis has set its sights on and that is what we would call utility scale water from air. And that begins to solve big problems for not only farmers and ranchers and small farms but certainly large growers and between as you look at industry.

>> Yeah. Are you prepared to talk a bit about the cost? Like you mentioned desalinization, you've got the cost of the plant, the energy to run it, the distribution network. That's absolutely massive. It literally is a, you know, a public works project, but this is quite a bit different. How to -- in terms of the, you know, per gallon cost, how does the cost compare?

>> So we used to keep that pretty close hold. I'm happy to share some aspirations in terms of where we're going. And these are things I recently shared with around an audience of 1,800 municipal engineers from around the country at Oracle. But there's a very close relationship between atmospheric water and energy. In fact, if the old supply, you know, was represented by a lake, a pipe, and a faucet, the new supply is represented by a -- an electric input, an air input, a water tube system that captures the water and the faucet. So there's an intimate relationship, a tightening spiral, if you will, between energy and the cost of water. And so on average, one of the more reasonable sources of renewable energy is solar. And it generally runs around two cents per kilowatt and in some locations even less, but let's just use two cents per kilowatt to begin examining the cost and where we're going. The other end of this is the efficiency. So think of it like gas mileage, how many miles to the gallon. In the case of atmospheric water, generally, how far or how much water can I generate per kilowatt of energy? And so for most legacy systems, the energy efficiency is around three to five kilowatts per gallon. It's pretty high. It's -- in other words, it uses a lot of energy to get that water. And to put it in, I guess, an order of magnitude in terms of the things Genesis has begun to do, not only in the lab but outside of the lab, are typical systems that we are going to be providing into the marketplace next year are sub one kilowatt. So that's a order of magnitude of 5x better. But what we've been able to do in the lab, and this is part of published scientific and peer-reviewed literature, is 0.04 kilowatts per gallon. So that's 1,000% less energy than our best system right now.

>> Wow.

>> And so we're very excited to bring that towards, I guess, commercialization, because what that means is if you take a source of solar energy at around two cents a kilowatt and you have a -- an efficiency, within the ballpark of what we're talking about right now means you're making water at potentially 0.005 cents per gallon.

>> Right.

>> Which is around $5 per thousand gallons roughly. And that's not including capex, that's just apex.

>> I love it. You mentioned that the people that work for your company are there because of the mission. I have a colleague who likes to say that nearly everybody's got to have something that makes them want to get up in the morning and go to work.

>> Absolutely right.

>> And you got to be living for something. And, you know, in my case, I've said a thousand times that grazing done well is one of the most sustainable land uses, and in particularly on rangelands, where you're grazing livestock on naturally occurring plant communities that produce a whole host of other ecosystem goods and services. If we can do that well, why would we not do it well? And so that -- that's kind of my reason for working. And I really appreciate what you're trying to do with water. This absolutely is one of the -- I think it's the challenge of our age. This has been called the Anthropocene Epoch, meaning that we live at a time when humans are influencing the world pretty significantly and it's important to be responsible about that. And we obviously have been a little bit careless in how we use water. And in parts of the world, you can sort of afford to do that. But in -- as you've mentioned, in quite a bit of the world, we have declining aquifers, we have groundwater wells that have been depleted, we have large scale agriculture that's still pulling water directly out of the ground, even though that is clearly no longer sustainable. So I'm pretty excited about this for livestock operations. And, you know -- and then the stuff that I typically work with is more extensive livestock production rather than intensive -- you know, intensive agriculture would be like dairies and hog operations and poultry. But, of course, range livestock people tend to be sort of proud of the fact that we're distributed and that we're producing food and fiber in places that are also wildlife habitat in wide open spaces. Have you demoed this technology anywhere yet on larger scale livestock grazing operations?

>> Not yet. We -- as a company, obviously, you spoke about it several times, we are young. And because we're young, we're not bureaucratic and we're not strangled by red tape. And so we're looking for opportunities to do pilots and partnerships. We recently had some interaction with the USDA and they got pretty excited about being able to provide water in this way to small farming operations. But we need to plug this in to all kinds of, you know, agriculture opportunities, whether that's 100 gallons a day, or 5,000, or 100,000 gallons a day. And -- so we're very open to those discussions. That said, you know, we -- if we continue to run our water into the ground, we're going to quickly have a compounding problem of food shortage. And we've seen, you know, lately how delicate the food supply can be in light of what's been going on in Ukraine and so forth. So, you know, for us, this is a good opportunity to reach out to the audience and say, you know, "Where are the opportunities to collaborate? Where can we plug in? Where can we show the value of these opportunities and use cases and do research together?" We're open to all those things. But most importantly, we need to move fast because I don't think in the case of our water supply and the rate at which it's diminishing, we have -- you know, we don't have 20 to 30 years to adapt. We have five to 10 to get this transition made because after scarcity comes collapse. And I've certainly been part of many very interesting programs in the Department of Defense when I worked at the Joint Staff. You know, certainly, I worked on a lot of exquisite programs that included things like hypersonics and quantum technologies, and artificial intelligence. All of those are great. But in my time, you know, as a strategist and being involved in all of the things that I've touched, I can tell you that probably the most understated national security risk in the entire planet is our water supply. Because if you can impact the water supply and interrupt that, you can potentially impact just as many people as you can with a weapon of mass destruction, which is far more complex. So one of the great benefits of creating water from the air at the point of need, we call it water your way at Genesis Systems. One of the great benefits to not only being a sustainable and renewable source of water is that it creates resilience. And resilience in, you know, a simple definition is the ability to get hit with something and to be able to bounce back quickly. And it's much like a boxer who gets clocked in the ring and he just goes right back on his feet. And, you know, we have this disaster that recently happened in Ohio near East Palestine and, you know, in some estimates, contaminated about 10% of the US water supply, or I should say, let me rephrase that, it affected as much as 10% of the US population in one disaster. So having federated water systems that are resilient that have multiple energy supplies is a new concept. But it is a needed concept in terms of being back to the -- those times in history, where, guess what, we had food in the cellar and we had the ability to subsist and be self-sufficient. I think what we've learned in the past, you know, few years with COVID is that dependencies create risk and the -- it is a uniquely American attribute to be independent, to be self-sufficient. And it is one that is a worthy virtue of reviving and it's one that we, as a company, hope to promote. And we have many, many thousands of people and customers who are interested in the -- implementing the technology.

>> Yeah, I look forward to that. I love seeing the interaction -- the intersection of ancient and new innovative technology as many people are not aware yet. 2026 is going to be the United Nations International Year of range lands and pastoralists. And there's efforts beginning now to try to make people who are not connected with that somewhat socially and economically marginalized group of pupils around the world with what that looks like. And I'd love to see some connection here between the ability. I can't get over it, the idea of putting water anywhere you need it in places where you want to run livestock solves a really large number of problems. And I'm looking forward to seeing it deployed. If folks are interested in learning more about Genesis Systems and maybe interested in getting a hold of some of this technology, what's the best way for them to go about doing them?

>> The best way, Tip, is to reach out to us via web. We have a great team to follow up with you. Heck, you might get a phone call from me. But at the end of the day, visit our website at That's the word genesis and And -- or follow us on LinkedIn if you're on LinkedIn and we're generally posting daily about our activities. Certainly, you know, very proud to be part of a global village that is beginning to take seriously solving our own problems. And, to me, you know, this is not about any kind of agenda. This is about stewardship, the kind that goes back to the earliest American days. And, you know, what ended up being fables about men like Johnny Appleseed, who left things better than they found it. And so for us, I think we have an opportunity to work together to realize that future for the next generation. I'm excited, I'm hopeful. And while it might sound corny is our -- one of our chief technology officers used to say, "There's reason to look up, there's hope above." And, you know, for us, we're bringing water from the air to the point of need and we're doing it in a way that people can afford. And that brings resilience and enables life and commerce and independence. So we don't need anybody relying on anybody else in terms of regulation. I think the -- that we know that that can ultimately be to the vexation that is not something we want to live under. And so having water independence is -- really it reduces shame and it brings confidence in that the way you're doing business is sensible and can last for generations. So as we move toward this new paradigm, I appreciate opportunities with folks like you and programs like this to help educate folks on the state of the art and even opportunities to embrace that and become part of what we're doing in this opportunity to build a better future together.

>> That sounds good. Dave, I really appreciate your time. And I won't take up any more of your time. And I sincerely wish you the best.

>> Thank you, Tip. I appreciate the privilege of being on the show today. And, again, anybody who's interested in reaching out, please reach out to us on our website at and we'll follow up with you rapidly and explore opportunities together.

>> Thank you.

>> Thank you.

>> Thank you for listening to the Art of Range podcast. You can subscribe to and review the show through iTunes or your favorite podcasting app so you never miss an episode. Just search for Art of Range. If you have questions or comments for us to address in a future episode, send an email to For articles and links to resources mentioned in the podcast, please see the show notes at Listener feedback is important to the success of our mission, empowering rangeland managers. Please take a moment to fill out a brief survey at This podcast is produced by Connors Communications in the College of Agricultural, Human, and Natural Resource Sciences at Washington State University. The project is supported by the University of Arizona and funded by the Western Center for Risk Management Education through the USDA National Institute of Food and Agriculture.

>> The views, thoughts, and opinions expressed by guests of this podcast are their own and does not imply Washington State University's endorsement.

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Genesis Systems website

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