Stronghold Digital Mining (SDM), a cryptocurrency mining company based in the state of Pennsylvania, has found a creative way to mine Bitcoin (BTC). According to a Reuters report, SDU uses waste coal to power its machines.
The unconventional method is seen at first as a pollutant, but this is not the case. In fact, using coal waste saves the company from overloading the US national power grid. And far from being polluting, the measure actually helps to reduce pollution in the state.
Method removes polluting waste
The method is not only unconventional, but also innovative. SDM collects waste from a mine close to the company’s headquarters. After being processed, the by-product goes to a boiler building, where it is burned.
Then, the burning of the waste generates energy, which is used to generate the electricity needed for mining BTC. The report does not provide data on the amount of energy generated in the process, nor if it is sufficient to supply SDM’s operations.
If not isolated, coal waste could go underground and pollute local groundwater. These ash also contain heavy metals, which are considered carcinogenic, meaning they cause cancer.
In this way, the SDM initiative prevents certain amounts of waste from being thrown outdoors. Burning this product for BTC mining also does not throw pollutants into the atmosphere. In other words, BTC mining actually contributes to reducing local pollution.
Greg Bard, Executive Director of SDM, said the project combines the best of both worlds. In addition to removing pollutants from the soil, water and air, it creates a cheap and efficient source of energy.
“The Bitcoin mining network itself is the largest decentralized computer network in the world. It is also energy intensive, so mining Bitcoin and a power plant makes a lot of sense,” he said.
Finally, the cleaning method contributes to improving the image of the state of Pennsylvania, which is often associated with accidents with coal mines. The most famous of these is the one in the city of Centralia, which took place in the 1960s, which resulted in the complete fire of an underground mine.
As a result, Centralia had to be evacuated completely and is now a ghost town. The coal below the place burns to this day, emitting extremely toxic gases.
Canada reuses mining energy
Further north in Pennsylvania, Canada is also looking to leverage BTC mining in other areas. The city of North Vancouver has partnered with mining company Mintgreen to open up BTC mining in the region in October 2021.
In return, the energy created by the heat of the ASIC machines will be redirected to residential buildings, feeding the internal heating. The method was dubbed “digital boilers” by Mintgreen.
In addition to providing cheap heating, digital boilers are less polluting than natural gas. In this sense, they can prevent the emission of 20 thousand tons of greenhouse gases (GHG) more than heating with natural gas.
According to the CEO of the city’s electric company (LEC) Karsten Veng, the partnership could be beneficial for the migration of North Vancouver towards the use of green energy.
“Partnering with Mintgreen on this project is very exciting for the LEC as it is an innovative and cost-effective project. It reinforces the LEC’s journey to support the city’s ambitious greenhouse gas reduction goals.”
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