We always knew Aggies were pretty smart!

Two students at Texas A&M University got into the business of mining a virtual currency in East Texas. The idea of oil and gas companies partnering with miners of the virtual currency was very taboo at the time, due to being both avant-garde and a major taboo.

But Whitehead, an engineer hailing from a family with a long history in oil and gas production, and Lohstroh, a finance major with a digital currency obsession, ignored the skeptics and sunk all the cash they had earned from their high school work side jobs into Giga Energy Solutions.

Oil and gas companies have been struggling to find a solution to the problem of what to do when they accidentally hit a natural gas formation. Gas delivery requires a pipeline, whereas oil delivery is easy to take out to a remote location. When drilling next to a natural gas line, they take whatever cash is on hand from the buyer on the other end of the line. If it is 20 miles away from the pipelines, drillers often burn it off. It is because of this that you will typically see flames rising from oil fields.

Beyond just the environmental implications of flare gas, drillers are also burning through cash. To these two Aggie alums, it’s a big problem with an obvious solution.

The natural gas that is diverted from an oil well into generators is converted into electricity that is used to power thousands of miners that fill a shipping container. The research from Crusoe Energy Systems shows the process reduces CO2 emissions by about 63% compared to continued flaring.

“Growing up, I always saw flares, just being in the oil and gas industry. I knew how wasteful it was,” Whitehead told CNBC on the sidelines of the North American Prospect Expo summit in Houston, a flagship event for the industry. “It’s a new way to not only lower emissions but to monetize gas.”