Everyone who is involved with Bitcoin (BTC) understands by now that mining digital gold not only takes a lot of energy but also produces heat. A lot of heat. So much heat that HVAC units and compressors must run 24/7 just to keep a building’s interior temperature under control.
This can result in compressors that wear out far more quickly than normal, which means they require more compressor replacement parts than usual. They also require more maintenance, which costs money. But this is just one component of the expense that can go into Bitcoin mining.
According to a Bitcoin miner in a recent article he penned, when he started mining several years back, he set up some mining rigs inside his dorm room. He was able not only able to compete in the marketplace, but even at a small scale, his efforts proved profitable.
Since then, most BTC mining operations have moved out of the dorms and the home basements and “evolved into a multi-million dollar industry.” Genesis Mining, in particular, found themselves having to constantly evolve to stay competitive. These days, that means having access to cheap electricity, up-to-date/state-of-the-art hardware, and a slick, efficiently run business operation.
But this also translates into BTC mining centres that consume massive amounts of energy leading some, like Elon Musk of Tesla and SpaceX fame, to begin worrying about the overall negative carbon footprint mining might create. But while BTC mining has become the driver of crypto innovation and decentralized cryptocurrencies which is changing the way people can exchange money, how can it give back to the communities that surround them?
One of the major by-products of mining is excess heat which is created by the rigs computational efforts. Up till now, all that heat has simply been released into the environment. But now there’s said to be a better way to put all that energy to good use. That said, Genesis Mining, in cooperation with some other organizations located in the Nordic countries, is looking towards local food producers to create mining heated greenhouse operations.
How the Mining/Greenhouse Partnership Works
By providing heat in the form of a 600kW air-cooled data/mining centre container, Genesis Mining will be heating to a 300m2 greenhouse. The data centre is said to be fitted with compressors that help feed an air duct system that connects directly to a nearby greenhouse. The heat being pumped in will help grow vegetables and fruits.
The mining generated heat will allow for the greenhouse to remain at 77 degrees F all year round, which is a vast improvement in a region where temperatures can drop at low as -22 degrees F in the middle of the winter months.
The mining data centre will not only give off enough heat to keep a 300m2 greenhouse at the perfect temperature for growing produce, but one expert predicts that if the mining operations can give off an additional 20 degrees of heat, their greenhouse capacity can triple. This means that scaling up in the short term will prove relatively simple. Also, cool air can be pumped back into the mining data centre, providing improved moisture levels that assist with mitigating static.
Preliminary Greenhouse Results
Experts say that thus far, preliminary greenhouse results prove that the mining heating works, but that it will also be a big benefit to the local economy. One of the Genesis partners foresees that a 1 MW mining data centre can “strengthen the local self-sufficiency up to 8 per cent with products that are competitive on the market.”
Farmers who traditionally have had a tough time making money during the winter months and the subarctic temperatures it produces will now have the ability to bring fresh foods to the market all year long.
With that in mind, the Swedish government is now openly encouraging self-sufficiency in the Nordic region. After all, this rather unique mining heat opportunity will allow farmers to be far more fiscally competitive which will dramatically decrease reliance on imports, and all while meeting established national energy efficiency goals.
Thus far, the greenhouses have been able to produce fruits and vegetables, but experts predict that soon, mining data centre heat can be used to propagate fish, algae, certain insects, and perhaps even poultry. The mining heat can also dry fruit which would be a boon to Sweden’s already profitable berry exporting sector.
In the end, mining data centre heat can provide scalability in the year-round production of food, plus the economic growth that goes with it, that the Nordic country has never before realized.