Report: Projects working hard to green up Bitcoin mining

Last Updated on 58 mins by Jordan

Over the past decade, acceptance and demand for bitcoin and cryptocurrencies has grown in a way few other commodities have seen. With a market cap of over $3 trillion, the market has garnered tremendous attention, attracting new investors and traders to the industry and seeing long-term investors cling to their tokens.

With the increasing demand for bitcoin, the creation of new tokens – through bitcoin mining – has remained strong despite the high energy consumption and equipment costs. As a result, many environmental activists have expressed concern that digital currencies are causing significant and unjustified damage to the environment, with a high carbon footprint at play.

Why is bitcoin bad for the environment?

Bitcoin’s main environmental impact is the energy-intensive process of creating new coins. New tokens are mined using special devices that require an enormous amount of energy to operate. It is estimated that each bitcoin transaction consumes approximately 2100 kilowatt hours (kWh), which is roughly equivalent to the consumption of an average household in the United States in 10 weeks. Accordingly estimatesBitcoin’s annual carbon footprint is comparable to 97.2 megatons of carbon dioxide, roughly equivalent to the annual emissions of the entire country of Argentina.

Reducing the Impact of Bitcoin Mining

There are a few factors that can contribute to more sustainable, green bitcoin mining. Two of them, namely:

  • Where from the mining takes place (the location), and
  • how the energy is drawn.

If bitcoin mining farms are located in countries that rely on fossil fuels and non-renewable energy sources, the environmental impact of mining in the region will be much higher than the regions that promote renewable energy sources such as hydroelectric and wind and promote electricity, solar energy or nuclear energy.

The move of bitcoin mining out of China

A significant number of bitcoin mining farms have recently been found in China. Fossil fuels and coal were commonly used on these farms because they are cheaper and more profitable than using renewable energy sources in the area. As a result, CO2 emissions were higher. However, the blanket ban on bitcoin due to a national government crackdown on all cryptocurrency activity led China-based bitcoin miners to relocate to other countries to continue their activities. Many of the miners went to Texas, an energy-conscious region, to continue mining.

Projects and companies promoting green bitcoin mining

Other crypto-friendly companies have also worked to reduce the environmental costs of bitcoin mining. One of these companies, Stronghold Digital Mining (SDIG), a Pennsylvania-based mining company, is converting waste from old power plants into energy used to power bitcoin mining rigs. The company collects waste coal and attempts to incinerate the leftover waste material in an emissions-controlled environment to generate the energy needed to run the mining equipment. Currently, Pennsylvania is the third largest coal producer in the United States and SDIG estimates that coal wastage in the region is over 220 million tons. SDIG’s operations and system are designed to help both reduce waste material, dispose of it safely and responsibly, and find a more sustainable and less carbon-rich way to generate energy.

At the beginning of this year the time had come reported that ConocoPhillips, an oil drilling company, would sell the natural gas tailings from its operations to bitcoin miners instead of burning it. This foray into the industry, while not mining itself, is part of the company’s initiative to work to reduce routine flaring (burning off additional gas) by 2030.

In August 2021, UK-based bitcoin mining company Argo Blockchain announced that sustainable mining would become a stronger core part of its operations. The mining company’s focus on reducing its carbon emissions ignited a plan to build a renewable energy mining farm in Texas. At the time of the announcement, Argo noted:

“Argo is in the process of developing its Helios site in west Texas, which is expected to be operational in 2022. It will include 200 MW of power consumption, mostly coming from renewable sources.”

The article Report: Projects working hard to green up Bitcoin mining first appeared on Coin Insider.

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