Arcane Research: How Bitcoin mining “waste heat” can be repurposed

The heating sector is the world’s largest end-use consumer of energy. Fortunately, Bitcoin mining generates heat, and we can reuse it for heating homes or food production. This article explains how Bitcoin mining heat recovery reduces heating costs and emissions.

Arcane Research: How Bitcoin mining "waste heat" can be repurposed

Source: Arcane Research

This article is excerpted from our research report titled “How Bitcoin Mining is Changing the Energy Industry”. The study lists five characteristics of Bitcoin miners that make them uniquely flexible energy consumers and elaborates on four energy problems that Bitcoin miners can help solve. This article explains one of the issues: how Bitcoin mining can reduce heating costs and reduce heating emissions. Let’s get started.

The heating sector is the world’s largest end-use consumer of energy

Heating residential, industrial, and other applications is the world’s largest energy end-use, accounting for nearly half of global energy end-use consumption in 2021.

Industrial processes account for 51% of heating energy consumption, and the other 46% is used to heat spaces and water in buildings, and to a lesser extent for cooking. The rest is used for agriculture, mainly greenhouse heating.

Unsurprisingly, the heating sector, which accounts for half of the world’s energy use, is the largest global source of carbon dioxide emissions. The heating sector accounts for about 40% of the world’s CO2 emissions and 30% of CO2 equivalent emissions.

Arcane Research: How Bitcoin mining "waste heat" can be repurposed

Source: Climate Watch

Fossil fuels are the most common source of heating energy, accounting for about three-quarters of the energy mix. The remaining quarter is roughly evenly divided between traditional biomass and modern renewable energy.

Arcane Research: How Bitcoin mining "waste heat" can be repurposed

Source: IEA

Bitcoin mining generates a lot of heat

Do you want to know what happens to all the electricity that goes into the Bitcoin miner? Electricity is generated through the hash board, and miners sell it to the mining pool, which finally settles bitcoins to the miner. The miner not only produces bitcoins, but also generates a lot of heat when the current passes through the hashing board.

Arcane Research: How Bitcoin mining "waste heat" can be repurposed

Source: Arcane Research

Bitcoin mining produces about 100 TWh of heat per year, enough to heat Finland. However, most of the heat generated by Bitcoin mining is not captured and reused, but is discharged from the data center into the atmosphere.

Bitcoin miners can reuse their waste heat for district heating or food production

Bitcoin miners are exploiting the potential to recover heat. As the industry becomes increasingly competitive, the possibility of using heat recovery to reduce costs, or reduce carbon emissions, has attracted growing attention. Most innovation occurs naturally in colder regions like Canada and Scandinavia, where thermal energy is more valuable than those hot bitcoin mining hubs like Texas.

Dealing with heat is the biggest engineering challenge facing the mining industry, which is why the industry’s first mining facilities were built in cold environments. Miners can utilize two different techniques to cool the machine. The most common is air cooling. Immersion cooling is a new method in which the machine is completely submerged in a thermally conductive fluid with superior insulation properties than air. Building an immersion cooling system is much more expensive than traditional air-cooled systems, but it also provides superior cooling capacity.

Ideally, miners should use immersion cooling when repurposing heat, as fluids carry heat more efficiently and are easier to direct than air. Using air cooling can still reuse the heat from Bitcoin mining, but it is much less efficient than immersion cooling, which recovers 96% of the heat.

Another factor to note is that although machines that can run up to 80॰C, Bitcoin mining machines produce temperatures between 40॰C and 50॰C. This resource is considered low-grade waste heat and cannot be used in certain areas that require higher temperatures. Nonetheless, bitcoin miners that generate low-grade waste heat can provide baseload level heating for many locations, including district heating and food production. Now, we will introduce some cases.

District heating

Mintgreen Canada is a pioneer in repurposing the waste heat of Bitcoin mining. This leadership allowed them to work with the City of North Vancouver to heat 100 buildings and 7,000 apartments. The partnership involved a 12-year heat purchase agreement in which municipal district heating company Lonsdale Energy Corp. purchased baseload heat generated by Mintgreen’s proprietary digital boilers ® ® and powered by renewable energy. The digital boiler contains a Bitcoin miner ® that uses immersion cooling. The boiler pump transports the non-conductive coolant to a heat exchanger, which transfers the heat directly to the district heating system of Lonsdale Energy Corp..

Food production

Many food production processes require low-grade waste heat at the base load level provided by Bitcoin miners. In 2020, Mintgreen began working with Shelter Point Distillery to supply their whisky production with heat generated by Bitcoin miners. Whisky producers need heat during the aging process in oak barrels. Mintgreen has designed a whisky aging machine powered by a Bitcoin miner that enables distilleries to age whisky faster without extra heat.

Some miners in Scandinavia are either actively using excess calories or are planning to do so. Genesis Mining is participating in a research project in northern Sweden that is looking at the prospect of reusing waste heat from Bitcoin mining to grow fruits and vegetables in greenhouses. They achieve this by piped hot air from the machine into the greenhouse. The project found that a relatively small 600-kilowatt container of mining rigs was able to provide enough heat for a 300-square-meter greenhouse, even in winter when temperatures as low as -30॰C.

Most miners in Norway are planning how to reuse waste heat from Bitcoin mining for food production, including heating greenhouses, algae farmers and salmon farmers. Norwegian miners are currently under intense political pressure due to energy consumption, and reusing excess heat from their operations is one way to show the environmental benefits that mining can provide. Because of these political motives, we are likely to see large-scale Bitcoin mining innovations in Norway in the coming years.

Repurposing waste heat from Bitcoin mining can reduce heating costs and carbon emissions

There are three main advantages to repurposing the heat of Bitcoin mining. First, Bitcoin mining income can subsidize the cost of electricity used for heating. Mintgreen can compete in the district heating market and use the proceeds from the sale of heat to reduce its electricity price to the lowest level in Bitcoin mining. At the same time, the increased competitiveness of Bitcoin mining further reduces the risk, so they can enter into heat purchase agreements for up to ten years.

Lower heating costs have also led to increased food production in the northern regions, which were once considered too cold for large-scale food production. Mattias Vesterlund, a senior researcher at RISE in Sweden who has worked with Genesis Mining on the greenhouse project, said: “A 1 MW data center can increase local self-sufficiency by 8% with market-competitive products.” A 1 MW Bitcoin mining facility is relatively small, so we can only imagine what a 100 MW data center can do.

In addition to reducing heating costs, district heating using Bitcoin mining can also reduce carbon emissions if the machines are powered by renewable energy. Mintgreen CEO Colin Sullivan estimates that the company will reduce carbon emissions by 20,000 tons over the 12-year district heating partnership. The CO2 reduction comes from replacing the natural gas boilers used in urban district heating systems.

Third, repurposing the heat of Bitcoin mining essentially harnesses the same energy twice. It is more competitive than miners who do not reuse the heat, because in the process, the energy used by Bitcoin mining is compensated.

Arcane Research: How Bitcoin mining "waste heat" can be repurposed

Source: Mintgreen

Mintgreen estimates that their Bitcoin mining district heating system could reduce 3,100 tons of CO2 per megawatt per year. Of this, 1,300 tons came from carbon offsetting of Bitcoin mining’s energy consumption per megawatt, and 1,800 tons came from a reduction in natural gas heating per megawatt.

In addition to reducing heating costs and carbon emissions, repurposing excess heat from mining will affect the geographic distribution of Bitcoin mining. Currently, bitcoin mining is concentrated in areas where electricity is abundant and inexpensive. Since the cost of heating is closely related to the price of electricity, mining rigs that reuse their heat can operate in places that were previously considered high electricity prices and unsuitable for Bitcoin mining.

Compared to other energy-intensive industries, two main characteristics make Bitcoin mining excellent in heat recovery. First, the location-agnostic nature of Bitcoin mining means that Bitcoin mining rigs can run wherever heat is needed. Secondly, Bitcoin mining is a modular process that can be customized to provide the heat required by customers. These characteristics of Bitcoin mining allow companies such as Mintgreen to build heaters powered by Bitcoin mining rigs, using the proceeds from Bitcoin mining to subsidize their heating costs.

We are likely to continue to see tremendous innovation in repurposing Bitcoin mining for heating. Soaring electricity prices and heating costs will push bitcoin miners and heating consumers to seek creative solutions to reduce costs.

This article is named by TSE, a North American mining service provider, and the content does not constitute financial advice and does not represent Wu Shuo’s views and positions.

Posted by:CoinYuppie,Reprinted with attribution to:
Coinyuppie is an open information publishing platform, all information provided is not related to the views and positions of coinyuppie, and does not constitute any investment and financial advice. Users are expected to carefully screen and prevent risks.

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