Heating buildings while mining Bitcoin can cut down heating costs and make you a profit as well!
Bitcoin has become infamous for the tremendous amount of energy required to mine it. Bitcoin mining consumes 91 terawatts of electricity annually—more than what the entire country of Finland uses in a year. The process of Bitcoin mining also generates a large amount of heat that has been conventionally released into the atmosphere.
Studies have shown that carbon emissions from Bitcoin mining can push global warming above 2°C. Repurposing the heat generated from Bitcoin mining could offset Bitcoin’s carbon footprint. In addition to being a solution to global warming, the heat generated from mining Bitcoin could also help combat the ongoing global energy crisis, particularly during winter with higher demand for heating. Let’s look at some initiatives that have been taken in this realm.
Heating North Vancouver via Bitcoin mining
MintGreen, a Canadian Bitcoin mining company, is collaborating with North Vancouver’s energy provider Lonsdale Energy Corporation to decarbonize the production of heat. In 2022, the pair aim to reduce the emissions of around 20,000 greenhouse gases.
As a part of this collaboration, MintGreen will use its proprietary invention “heat boilers” to recover 96% of the electricity used for mining Bitcoin. MintGreen’s heat boilers use an immersion technology that channels the heat generated from Bitcoin mining into hot water utilities called “district energy”. This energy is then supplied to 100 residential and commercial buildings.
Mining Bitcoin for strawberry production
Le Caveau à Légumes is a Canadian strawberry farm in Neuville, Quebec. The farm has been using the excess heat produced by crypto miners to fight off frost and protect their strawberries from dying since 2018.
The farm relies on technology created by Quebec-based startup Heatmine. A single one of the company’s units can produce 75,000 Btu/h of heat per hour. Heatmine hopes to generate “virtually free heat”, since the profits generated from crypto mining can cover around 75-100% of the production costs.
Growing vegetables using crypto mining
In 2020, the Sweden-based large-scale crypto mining company Genesis Mining began a project to recycle the heat generated by crypto mining. For the project, Genesis Mining connected one of its crypto mining storage containers to a greenhouse through a custom-built air duct system.
The system carries the heat generated from crypto mining to a greenhouse that produces fruits and vegetables. Andreas Johansson, a senior lecturer from Luleå Technical University, predicts that if the project can heat the greenhouse by 20°C, the size of the greenhouse can triple. This would allow Genesis Mining to scale the project and make the most out of Bitcoin mining’s thermal output.
Besides these three initiatives, many companies across the world have been trying to repurpose the heat generated by Bitcoin mining to heat up greenhouses. Some small-scale crypto miners have even begun using (and promoting the use of) the heat generated by crypto mining to heat their own houses.
“…if a lot of people take these ideas and apply them at a larger scale, that could start to have a major impact on how much electricity and carbon emissions come out of these technologies,” says Thomas Smith, one of the crypto miners using crypto mining for heat. These initiatives herald a new era of “green” crypto mining, where enterprising crypto miners can offset the environmental impact of their mining activities.
Header Image Courtesy of Freepik