Climate Friendly Bitcoin Miners Use Waste Heat to Warm Entire Cities

Guest essay by Eric Worrall

Finally a solution which might satisfy Californian climate activist bitcoin enthusiasts AND solve fuel poverty – using the waste heat from their enormous Bitcoin mining rigs to keep entire cities warm.

How a Startup Is Supplying a Whole City With Heat From Bitcoin Mining 

North Vancouver, British Columbia, will be the world’s first city to be heated by bitcoin mining. 

By Aoyon Ashraf
Oct 15, 2021 at 2:18 a.m. Updated Oct 15, 2021 at 6:51 a.m. 

MintGreen, a Canadian cleantech cryptocurrency miner, is working with Lonsdale Energy Corp. to supply heat to the city of North Vancouver, British Columbia, from bitcoin mining.

The heat source will be introduced in 2022 and will prevent 20,000 metric tons of greenhouse gas per megawatt from entering the atmosphere compared with natural gas, according to a statement shared with CoinDesk.

MintGreen’s proprietary “Digital Boilers” recover 96% of the electricity used for bitcoin mining as heat that is then used to supply communities and for industrial processes.

The utility working with MintGreen serves about 100 buildings and the company will sell the heat under a contractual long-term agreement, Sullivan added.

Read more: https://www.coindesk.com/business/2021/10/14/how-a-startup-is-supplying-a-whole-city-with-heat-from-bitcoin-mining/

Critics might suggest that it would be simpler to warm homes by supplying them with gas or electricity.

The problem is using fossil fuel to warm homes releases evil greenhouse gasses.

EXCEPT when it comes to Bitcoin mining – climate activists seem much more willing to give fossil fuel a pass, when it is used to mine bitcoin.

If Bitcoin miners export waste heat to residential buildings, or even supply free bitcoin rigs to poor people to keep their homes warm, maybe even use some of the mined bitcoin to help pay the energy bills, everyone is happy. The evil of burning fossil fuel is mitigated by mining bitcoin, and poor people get a more affordable home heating supply.

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LdB
October 15, 2021 6:12 pm

So you create waste then when you clean up partially and that gives you green credentials … I love this scam. Bet our old mate Mosher will be off to get his snout in that one.

Tom Halla
October 15, 2021 6:14 pm

The calculation of prevented GHGs seems to assume the electric source for the computer farm is from hydro. If it was from gas fueled generators, heating the customers directly with gas would be more efficient.

Mike McMillan
Reply to  Tom Halla
October 15, 2021 8:35 pm

The solution to this wasted energy problem is to end Bitcoin mining, period.

The way to do that is to take one or two of these climate supercomputers, spend ten minutes to get the last of the Bitcoins, then use the profits to pay for the electricity it took.

Last edited 1 month ago by Mike McMillan
Derg
Reply to  Mike McMillan
October 15, 2021 8:38 pm

Maybe I think using your phone is a waste of electricity 😉

Retired_Engineer_Jim
Reply to  Tom Halla
October 15, 2021 11:10 pm

It would also be more efficient to just use the hydro electricity directly to heat people’s homes.

ATheoK
Reply to  Tom Halla
October 17, 2021 6:33 pm

I believe that they actually believe the electricity they duplicate is from magic.

Steve Case
October 15, 2021 6:16 pm

What is Bitcoin? What is a bitcoin mine? What heat? Is this some sort of non-April 1st Joke. Please put up an image of an ethereum mine.

Pat from kerbob
Reply to  Steve Case
October 15, 2021 7:50 pm

I’m working on one for Unobtainium

Last edited 1 month ago by Pat from kerbob
Clyde Spencer
Reply to  Pat from kerbob
October 15, 2021 9:08 pm

You need an infinite improbability engine to extract unobtainium out of the ether. It has a very short half-life however, spontaneously turning into Dark Energy.

alastair gray
Reply to  Clyde Spencer
October 16, 2021 1:59 am

Naively I consider Bitcoin to be a sort of equivalent to gold. Both are fundamentally meaningless constructs and both have the common factors
1) Difficult to come by by direct mining means involving vast expenditure of labour
2) Possession of either unlocks economic opportunity to buy real stuff or to borrow or lend against.
3) Miningf of each has adverse consequences in terms of environmental degradation.

Now a few years back seemingly we junked gold as a necessity but now we are talking about bitcoin effectively as a replacement. To my mind the two are exact equivalents.

Can someone educate me a bit about bitcoin its pros and cons, and in particular how it is different to gold. Refgerences or pointers to a book gratefuilly received

Dean
Reply to  alastair gray
October 16, 2021 6:52 am

You cannot use bitcoin for all the industrial uses of gold.

Gold has actual real world uses as a metal, which have nothing to do with any financial use. Bitcoin doesn’t.

They are far from exact equivalents.

Tkivela
Reply to  alastair gray
October 16, 2021 8:08 am

If you drop a gold bar on your toe it will hurt. Bitcoin not so much.

Reply to  alastair gray
October 16, 2021 4:35 pm

During the gold rush era private businesses issued their own gold coins for use as a currency like the bit coin miners issue their coins.The difference is that gold coins can be melted down to recover the value if the business that issued them disappears. Bit coin miners are the same as the prospectors listed on the stock markets whose shares can have unlimited blue sky value but are worthless if nothing tangible is found.

Reply to  Pat from kerbob
October 16, 2021 5:15 am

Unobtanium is what submarines are made of, semi-unobtanium is what racecars are made of. Any one else remember LUX and RE-LUX, sci-fi from the Fifties? Morey and his sidekicks?

*Islands of Space* by John W. Campbell 1957, Theodore Sturgeon, reviewing the Fantasy Press edition, wrote “This is a real lousy book”, faulting its lack of characterization, suspense, and plot, and a writing style “such as would dry up the purple blood of the sleaziest fan magazine”.

Last edited 1 month ago by Doug Huffman
Tom Abbott
Reply to  Steve Case
October 16, 2021 4:39 am

“What is Bitcoin?”

It sounds to me like it is a good way to lose your money.

whiten
Reply to  Steve Case
October 16, 2021 9:46 am

Bitcoin is the base currency value paying for the work of threading Blockchain into the Internet structure.

Blockchain is an Internet “upgraded” structure “above” the Cloud.

The CLoud,
the most efficient and stable cost-value, self regulated (“threaded”) structure, energy consumption wise.

well, just saying.

cheers

whiten
Reply to  whiten
October 16, 2021 1:14 pm

Anthony Watts, has to understand, that the price or cost of censorship is not affordable, by any one ever these days.

Don’t frack it up!

whiten
Reply to  whiten
October 16, 2021 1:47 pm

Mods, let me tell you again;

Censorship these days is not affordable…
Please , let free thought persist, or else, you default to disgrace against free thought and disgrace againinst free thinking… your call!

Your choice, your decision, stand and live by it!

no

cheers

Last edited 1 month ago by whiten
Dmacleo
Reply to  whiten
October 16, 2021 2:52 pm

what are you harping on about?

whiten
Reply to  Dmacleo
October 16, 2021 3:01 pm

The stupidity of monkeys!

[I allowed this because I think you’re insulting me. Which is allowed. BTW. You’re whining really doesn’t help your case. I’ve restored Griff ;because he was behaving. Mods report to me when someone develops a good track record.-Charles}

Last edited 1 month ago by Charles Rotter
whiten
Reply to  whiten
October 16, 2021 3:17 pm

Adele-Hello…

whiten
Reply to  whiten
October 16, 2021 3:34 pm

please do try to censor the beauty of reality.
the only way you find out…but don’t be cheap!

whiten
Reply to  whiten
October 16, 2021 3:39 pm

Let me make it clear, I hold no case whatsoever!

whiten
Reply to  whiten
October 16, 2021 3:42 pm

So as to be clear, in consideration of my comments here now, never ever you crossed my mind, you completely not there, effecting my thoughts as put, whatsoever, stop adding value there when it does not have merit.

John the Econ
October 15, 2021 6:22 pm

No, I don’t know of any climate activists that are happy with Bitcoin, or any other cryptocurrency. The Progressives in my community have worked to ban them on climate grounds. The reality is that if there is any aspect of capitalism involved, they will be against it with a religious fervor.

Clyde Spencer
Reply to  John the Econ
October 15, 2021 9:14 pm

I don’t know why anyone would be in favor of bitchcoins. It is the equivalent of running the government printing presses to put more money into circulation to cover the cost of social programs, and it doesn’t even have the blessing of Congress or the Federal Reserve. It is like counterfeit money! Oh yes, people who own the ‘coins’ are in favor, just as people who have a printing press in the basement are happy with their product. However, that doesn’t mean that it is in society’s best interest.

John the Econ
Reply to  Clyde Spencer
October 16, 2021 8:02 am

Actually, it’s quite the opposite. The primary feature of Bitcoin is that the supply will be finite and and that government cannot inflate their value by printing more. That it does not have the blessing of a corrupted Congress or the Federal Reserve IS its biggest featur.

DMacKenzie
Reply to  John the Econ
October 16, 2021 8:30 am

MONEY is generally a measure and storage of human toil as “wealth” in the society in which it is used. Conch shells were currency in some South seas islands because a diver might spend all day diving to find one…hence a shell could be traded for a day’s work. Gold nuggets to hammer into cups and earrings also took much labor to recover, thus becoming currency. Governments strong enough to issue certificates stating they were equivalent to gold is actually where we remain today, despite governments’ claiming gold’s value is based on their currency.
At its root, Bitcoin was based on how much electricity and computer time it takes to “mine”. Since the cost of electricity and computers is already priced by fiat currency issued by governments, Bitcoin only exists as a currency in the same minds who once believed that Dutch tulip stocks were “wealth”…since people can get “wealthy” trading Bitcoin, and it is used for various unsavoury transactions outside of the purview of the tax and legal system, not representative of human toil, it is only a matter of time until it is outlawed by governments everywhere.

whiten
Reply to  DMacKenzie
October 16, 2021 12:03 pm

Two main things there, as per connection of Bitcoin value versus energy costs.

Different nations have different energy consumption cost.

“Mining” in China is less costly than in Calizuela or EU or even Canada… more efficient and profitable in China or/and Russia, and some other places.

Second,
Internet as a whole is the most protected and secured capital from a monopoly take over.
So in that regard, outlawing Bitcoin or blockchain happens to be the most silly, for not saying the most stupid attempt… in the most funny and costly whack a mole endeavor.

cheers

Last edited 1 month ago by whiten
diggs
Reply to  John the Econ
October 16, 2021 10:24 pm

It is a two edged sword for progressives. Crypto has the potential to be completely disruptive to the current capital system, which some progressives would see as good. Individuals can conduct their complex financial transactions without the middle man. Those middle men that reap trillions a year managing these transactions can be easily replaced with smart contracts and similar protocols in the cryptoverse. Crypto can and does split both the left and right ideologies.

Sean
October 15, 2021 6:24 pm

Trickle Down economics has been taken to a whole new level. Of course the demand for hydroelectricity might rise so high that wholesale electric rates increase may swallow any heating savings.

October 15, 2021 6:52 pm

I could care less about bitcoin or bitdollar. I do care that this winter is forecast to be colder than normal. We obviously need to make more CO2.

peterg
Reply to  John Shewchuk
October 15, 2021 9:01 pm

Well the Antarctic temperature trace leads CO2 by several hundred years, so may not work.

Chaswarnertoo
Reply to  peterg
October 16, 2021 12:56 am

But will help green the Sahara.

Reply to  peterg
October 16, 2021 4:04 am

But the Almighty Al Gore and Mickey Mann say more CO2 will keep us warm.

markl
October 15, 2021 7:26 pm

How many btu per bitcoin? Would it be more economical to burn bitcoins than fossil fuel? How about the social aspect of destroying something that’s virtual? Has anyone even thought of that yet?

October 15, 2021 7:58 pm

The equivalent would be for the government mint to use the heat generated by burning currency notes withdrawn from circulation to warm homes, and there have been instances where the value of a currency has fallen so much this may have been the most efficient use for it.
However it seems that they imagine that the mining of bitcoins is going to be an ongoing process following the same path of those governments that never turned off the printing presses, and since they cannot extract any heat by withdrawing bitcoins from circulation at what point will the digital bitcoin assume the same value as an incinerated currency note and still be in circulation.

Last edited 1 month ago by kalsel3294
commieBob
October 15, 2021 8:28 pm

District heating is nothing new. Instead of having a furnace, a home is connected to a hot water distribution system. Under the right circumstances it works well.

So, what happens if your district heating supplier goes bankrupt? Whatever you have to do will involve nuisance and expense.

Do I, in my wildest dreams, think a bitcoin miner could be a reliable source of heat for the next twenty or thirty years? Not a chance.

atticman
Reply to  commieBob
October 17, 2021 4:11 am

In the days when the coal-fired Battersea Power Station was working, a whole area of London was heated by hot water from the plant.

Clyde Spencer
October 15, 2021 9:03 pm

The extra warmth might be welcome in the Winter, but not so much in the Summer. But, then I’m sure the bit coin miners won’t mind shutting down operations in the Summer.

Graham
Reply to  Clyde Spencer
October 15, 2021 9:50 pm

We have seen some dumb ideas floated here on WUWT but this is the dumbest by far .
Don’t these people making this outlandish claim know anything about energy and heat .
Any energy source will produce heat with the right appliance but perpetual motion has not yet been invented .
So these people are paying for electricity to mine Bitcoins and they are willing to give the excess heat generated to heat other peoples homes .
Or do these miners want to recover some of the money they have wasted .

Derg
Reply to  Graham
October 16, 2021 2:21 am

Why have they wasted money?

When.you travel to the store to buy ice cream have you wasted money?

Think very deeply on your answer. It is a question of value judgments.

Graham
Reply to  Derg
October 16, 2021 12:39 pm

Reply to Derg .
They have wasted money because they have wasted electric power .
Thats OK according to Derg .
Please tell me what these miners have produced with all the electricity that they have used and for what ?
These people have used thousands of dollars worth of electric power and what is the benefit to them or any one else .
Please tell us what they have produced with all the energy regardless of how it was generated .
If you walk to the shop for an ice cream you get some exercise and some nutrition .The shop keeper makes a dollar and so do the transport .the manufacturer and also the farmer who produced the cream .
Put your brain into gear Derg before opening your mouth ,

Derg
Reply to  Graham
October 16, 2021 4:51 pm

You wasted electricity for getting ice cream.

Graham
Reply to  Derg
October 16, 2021 6:25 pm

I am wasting time and electricity arguing with you Derg .
The saying goes like this “Never argue with a fool ”
You have not answered my Question Derg.”What have these miners produced with all the electicity that they have used ?
I will answer it for you .Absolutely nothing ,even if they mine a bitcoin where has the money come?Who has created the money when they spend it ?

whiten
Reply to  Graham
October 16, 2021 10:30 pm

Graham,

In regard to the waste of time and money,
going big in Bitcoin mining by means of “shark” investment, over time becomes contra productive.

Greed wastes.

Bitcoin is a payment for “producing” Blockchain.
Blockchain is real and has a value… very stable and enduring.

cheers

Derg
Reply to  Graham
October 17, 2021 1:47 am

What have you produced when you went for ice cream?

You only believe in freedom for yourself…why do you care what anyone else does? If you leave a light on are you wasting electricity?

Graham
Reply to  Derg
October 17, 2021 1:04 pm

Why do I bother with you Derg ?
I am one of 12000 dairy farmers in New Zealand that export milk and cream products to the world .New Zealand,a country of 5 million exports food to feed 50 million people around the world .
Without food you starve Derg .
Of course I believe in personal freedom and for every one around the world .
You seem to have a very narrow view of what any one can do .
Of course you are wasting electricity when you leave a light on but the Bitcoin miners are wasting far more, and for what ?

Andy Espersen
October 15, 2021 11:35 pm

I do not know when the crypto-currency bubble will collapse; but it cannot be far away now – and collapse it must, like all money-making schemes founded exclusively on nothing but thin air always did.

OOPS!! Then what??

John H
Reply to  Andy Espersen
October 15, 2021 11:51 pm

Tulips

richard
Reply to  Andy Espersen
October 16, 2021 4:20 am

except the currencies are being used for actual transactions and these are increasing every day.

Andy Espersen
Reply to  richard
October 16, 2021 6:56 am

All transactions done via banks before they go bankrupt are also real and actual. It is the suckers who hold the worthless credit who will suffer eventually.

richard
Reply to  Andy Espersen
October 16, 2021 7:37 am

if it works as a storage system and serves a purpose and is in limited supply – will it be worthless? Bitcoin is pretty much back to its high. It’s been around a decade now.

Last edited 1 month ago by richard
Tom Abbott
Reply to  Andy Espersen
October 16, 2021 4:47 am

“I do not know when the crypto-currency bubble will collapse; but it cannot be far away now”

That’s a possibilty. I wouldn’t touch bitcoins with a ten-foot pole. Too much uncertainty around it.

Tom in Florida
Reply to  Tom Abbott
October 16, 2021 5:08 am

or a six foot Romanian.

To me it is like the barter bucks that were popular years ago. If you trust that your fake currency will have purchasing power then fine. But when that trust diminishes you move away back into government backed currencies.

Hans
October 16, 2021 12:33 am

They could introduce a new coin – Inheatdoge!

SAMURAI
October 16, 2021 12:34 am

Just a heads up…

China banned crypto currency last month, so it’s likely other countries may soon do the same because Central Banks absolutely hate crypto currencies.

The Fed is now evaluating the creation of a US$ crypto currency, and if they do, it’s likely they’ll force people to convert their crypto currencies into US$ crypto, followed by banning all other crypto currencies as China just did…

Not many people seem to know this, but the FED is printing an insane amount of US$ with the M1 money supply currently at almost $20 TRILLION, which is nuts:

https://fred.stlouisfed.org/series/M1SL

To put this into perspective, the US M1 money supply increased from $1.8 trillion to $3.3 trillion under Obama between 2009~2016, then from $3.3T to $4 trillion from 2017~2019 under Trump, but, when Trump stupidly shutdown the economy in 2020 for COVID, so the M1 money supply SKYROCKETED from $4 trillion to $18 trillion in 2020 because the federal government had to pay the salaries of 30% of US population with bogus printed money, and $trillions more of printed money was pumped into the financial sector to keep the stock market and real estate bubbles inflated…

The Fed’s balance sheet is now a toxic waste dump of junk-level assets…. How the Fed will unwind their balance sheet to get M1 down to $4 trillion and not cause economic chaos is really terrifying stuff…

Anyway, just something to think about.

Derg
Reply to  SAMURAI
October 16, 2021 2:25 am

The US already has digital money. The difference between the two is the US can make an infinite supply. Bitcoin, on the other hand, becomes fixed when it all is “mined.”

SAMURAI
Reply to  Derg
October 16, 2021 4:11 am

Derg-san:

in financial parlance, the term “printing money” refers to the Fed digitally creating/transferring money to various accounts, and not just running rolls of paper printing out physical dollars, or stamping out coins…

I understand fiat currencies, which always fail because they’re backed by nothing, Bitcoin is also backed by nothing and I think it too may fail or become illegal, especially if the Fed creates its blockchain crypto currency, as they are now evaluating.

Returning to gold/silver standard seems to be the best way to keep currencies stable because feckless governments hacks will always opt to print or borrow money rather than directly increase taxes to pay for their insane largess to buy votes.

Derg
Reply to  SAMURAI
October 16, 2021 5:38 am

Samurai all money is faith

SAMURAI
Reply to  Derg
October 16, 2021 6:03 am

Derg-san:

No. All money is not based on faith..

Gold/silver-backed currencies are based on the intrinsic value because they have: scarcity, uniformity, high demand, many uses, don’t deteriorate over time,, they’re relatively easy to store and transport, etc.

if your currency is backed by gold/sold and can dollars can be converted directly into gold or silver, then governments must have reserves on hand equivalent to the money supply…

I’ll admit it’s a pain to obtain all that gold or silver to backup a currency, but it’s the only way to avoid fiat currencies which ALWAYS fail because politicians can’t be trusted not to overprint fiat money.

Derg
Reply to  SAMURAI
October 16, 2021 4:52 pm

Gold is faith too.

SAMURAI
Reply to  Derg
October 16, 2021 10:25 pm

No… As I mentioned, silver and gold have many innate qualities that make them valuable and useful so they will always have an intrinsic value based on their scarcity, utility and high demand.

Derg
Reply to  SAMURAI
October 17, 2021 1:50 am

If gold became as common as sand I guarantee it would be faith based.

Last edited 1 month ago by Derg
SAMURAI
Reply to  Derg
October 17, 2021 7:26 am

And, umm.., if monkeys started flying out of my butt, I would be king of the world…

Care to make any more non sequiters?

fretslider
October 16, 2021 12:59 am

How does this square with the general aim – you will own nothing and you will be happy?

Peta of Newark
October 16, 2021 1:08 am

Watch the marble/pea. Not easy. I’ve been looking for it and it’s not there..

Apart from
Quote:This work quantifies the carbon output of computer systems to show that most emissions related to modern mobile and data-center equipment come from hardware manufacturing and infrastructure
from here

If you go looking you will find vastly more chaff concerning ‘efficiency’ ‘water usage’ and ‘green house solvents’
Somewhere out there admits that the vast majority of energy usage goes into keeping Clean Rooms = ‘clean’
Melting and purification of the silicon itself is beyond trivial

What I was hoping to find was an update on a long lost factoid about the manufacture of large silicon chips.
What I remember from (easily) 10 years ago concerned the energy that went into making just one ‘memory chip’
It was that the energy used to make that one chip was greater than the energy that the entire machine it was fitted into would consume in its typical 3 year lifetime
Then there may be 8, 10, 16, 20+ in your typical laptop even before you have huge chips in the processor and graphics chips.
And have you ever taken an old disc-drive apart?

These greedy and selfish muppets are throwing up chaff.

Solution. It will hurt.
Let them have their green unreliable energy
It the only (relatively) easy way of bringing the is whole insane nightmare to an end.
Wholesale power cuts and shortages will wreck these muppet’s dreams but especially, do serious damage to the MSM propaganda machine. Without that, it can only collapse.
As in all Great Schemes and Scams, the very first thing this (climate) scam did was to plant the seed of its own destruction and ‘renewable energy’ was/is it.

Coming over ‘all philosophical‘ for a mo’ = Much like the idea of settled and civilised human societies.
Government Expansion/Creep gradually, consistently and unstoppably inverts what you might call The Pyramid of Power.
‘Government’ inexorably expands and how could it not because Government Is Good – thus more = better.
Some might say ‘Never Better‘ in fact

There comes a point where there are:
More Chiefs than Indians
More tax collector/spenders than tax/money generators
More self appointed cops than supposed robbers
More virtue than actual good deeds and then

The Whole Thing Will Fall Over..
……. = nothing else it can possibly do

edit to add:
Government also comprises all its Cronies, not just all the swanky offices in the centres of The Capital City

And who is not a Crony these days?
If you are in receipt of almost any Government financial benefit,
You Are A Crony
i.e. you are indebted to government and at some point, government will want its ‘Pound Of Flesh’

Last edited 1 month ago by Peta of Newark
SAMURAI
Reply to  Peta of Newark
October 16, 2021 4:27 am

Nah.. Screw the Leftists insane pixie-dust wind/solar fallacy and continue running the electrical grid on: nuclear, hydro and fossil fuel power.

Eventually, next-generation Thorium power will slowly replace fossil fuels and stupid wind/solar will be scrapped or used for artificial reefs…

Wind/solar will never be viable grid-level sources to run the grid.

richard
October 16, 2021 4:17 am

I read that if you invested £10,000 in bitcoin in 2010 it would be worth 4 billion now. Darn! darn! darn!

richard
October 16, 2021 4:25 am

With the speed of fake money being printed and the agonies of target 2 payments which will eventually crush the EU, crypto looks like a safe haven in comparison. Bitcoin is on the way up again.

Target 2 explained-

Last edited 1 month ago by richard
Loydo
October 16, 2021 4:45 am

“climate activists seem much more willing to give fossil fuel a pass”

Do they? And activists like you seem willing, not to just believe in, but actually make stuff up that confirm your baises.

October 16, 2021 5:12 am

Is not there a Zeroeth Law of Thermodynamics, that One CANNOT WIN?

Vince
Reply to  Doug Huffman
October 16, 2021 6:43 am

Its the 2nd Law of Thermo

Joe Shaw
Reply to  Doug Huffman
October 16, 2021 11:51 am

Zeroth law of thermo states that two systems in thermal equilibrium with a third (i.e. at the same temperature) are in thermal equilibrium with each other.

Alasdair Fairbairn
October 16, 2021 6:23 am

Oh dear! and here’s me thinking that the idea is to cool the planet, not heat it up. Maybe if we put into statute that waste heat should only be used to cool the planet then all would be solved. (sarc: for those who can’t quite make out what I am saying.

Gordon A. Dressler
October 16, 2021 7:40 am

From the above article:

“The heat source will be introduced in 2022 and will prevent 20,000 metric tons of greenhouse gas per megawatt from entering the atmosphere compared with natural gas, according to a statement shared with CoinDesk.”

Well clearly, CoinDesk needs to go back to their desk, sharpen their pencil/get a new computer, and redo their analysis.

There is no way on God’s green earth (yeah, that’s intentional) that producing a single megawatt of electrical energy with today’s common, commercial technology would EVER require the production of 20,000 metric tons of greenhouse gas (even if one included all the water vapor, CO2 and methane in the exhaust stream of the power plant ratioed down to a “per megawatt basis”).

Anyone seriously thinking about buying a cryptocurrency from an outfit that is so careless with its math calculations???

Thomas Gasloli
October 16, 2021 12:02 pm

Perhaps I am really stupid, but I have never understood how a few digital files can be responsible for vast quantities of energy use, let alone a significant amount of heat.

How inefficient are bitcoin accounting practices anyway? No one talks about the NY stock exchange heating cities & it must have a greater number of transactions.

Rod
Reply to  Thomas Gasloli
October 16, 2021 3:32 pm

I’ll try to spitball an answer to your question. By “spitball” I mean a lot of guessing and estimating. It’s a fact that, currently, 900 bitcoin are created (mined) every 24 hours, at the rate of 6.25 bitcoin every ten minutes or so. (The algorithm is adjusted whenever the time varies too much from ten minutes to bring it back closer to ten minutes.)

Assuming a low value for bitcoin of $40,000 each (it’s currently over $60,000 but mining at today’s rate was done at the $40,000 level), that’s $36 million worth of bitcoin per day. Now, just to reduce the numbers some, take the case of a miner representing just 1% of the total effort and earning nine bitcoin per day on average. He’s taking in $360,000 per day in revenue. Assume (spitballing here) that $10,000 per day will buy all the equipment he needs for his operation, he has $350,000 to spend on electricity per day. Obviously, he won’t spend it all, so let’s give him a very high profit of $100,000 per day. That means he can spend $250,000 per day on electricity in his mining operation. At 10 cents a kilowatt-hour, he can economically justify using 2,500,000 kwh per day and still make about $100,000 per day profit.

That’s 2,500 megawatt-hours per day and that’s for one percent of the total bitcoin mining. Because some miners might be satisfied with a thinner profit margin, say $25,000 per day, and because they might also find electricity cheaper than 10 cents per Kwh, they might use even more than that 2,500 megawatt-hours per day (again, to do 1% of all mining.) Then add in the fact that miners also earn fees for each transaction they manage to verify (by winning the 10-minute race to satisfy the algorithm), and there’s even more money on the table that can be used to purchase electricity.

Now, because bitcoin mining essentially a free-market competition, profits ultimately get bid down to a reasonable return on capital invested, so the mining operations keep expanding as long as too much money is being earned by existing miners. This goes on all day, every day, sucking electricity out of the grid at a monumental rate, a minimum of 250,000 megawatt-hours per day if my calculations above are accurate.

Note: A search yields an estimate of around 125,000 Mwh, or 125 Gigawatt-hours, half of my estimate, so my number could at least be in the ball park. That same source said all bitcoin mining would require the total output of five 1000 megawatt nuclear plants. My number would then be ten such plants, running 24/7/365.

Note #2: A counterargument is that these numbers are trivial when compared to the world’s total electricity usage.

I welcome any corrections to the math or challenges to the assumptions. Again, this is just spitballing. Sometimes they don’t stick.

Gordon A. Dressler
Reply to  Rod
October 17, 2021 7:44 am

Thomas,

Good post.

And its worse than just the electricity consumption used to perform mathematical calculations . . . 99+ % of that electrical consumption ends up in the form of waste heat dumped into the world’s environment. The tapping of this waste energy for “heating cities” (as discussed in the above article) is totally infeasible due to the low source temperature (what, maybe 200 deg-F tops).

Just consult the second law of thermodynamics to find out the maximum, Carnot efficiency possible with such a low temperature source and a reasonable sink temperature of, say, 70 deg-F: delta-T/Tmax, using absolute temperatures, says the maximum efficiency would be 20%. And the energy still ultimately ends up in the environment!

The above article is just an attempt at virtue signaling . . . with no practical significance.

Proprietary “Digital Boilers”? Give me an effing break!

Rick C
October 16, 2021 12:02 pm

“The heat source will be introduced in 2022 and will prevent 20,000 metric tons of greenhouse gas per megawatt from entering the atmosphere…”

You know it’s BS when the claim gets the units wrong – megawatts instead of megawatt-hours.

Gordon A. Dressler
Reply to  Rick C
October 17, 2021 7:52 am

You know it’s BS just by looking at the phrase “20,000 metric tons“, whether the units are “per megawatt”, or “per megawatt-hour”.

Robert W Turner
October 16, 2021 3:16 pm

All of the energy used in the world’s largest ever pyramid scheme is waste. Even worse is the now $1,000,000,000,000 of currency soaked up in this one scam alone- which could otherwise be invested to grow the market cap in businesses that actually create products and services.

October 16, 2021 11:23 pm

If the believers in Bitcoin are correct then Nations going bankrupt will be a thing of the past. For economies to work the value of the goods and services being traded must be balanced by capacity of the buyer to pay for them. The cost of the electricity to create the Bitcoins is irrelevant, the Bitcoin created would be needed to pay for the power consumed, who is the fool here? Just because the days of cheques seem to be numbered, those who like to pass worthless cheques that bounce may survive with Bitcoin.

atticman
October 17, 2021 4:08 am

It’s an awfully inefficient way to turn electricity into heat…

ATheoK
October 17, 2021 6:41 pm

MintGreen, a Canadian cleantech cryptocurrency miner, is working with Lonsdale Energy Corp. to supply heat to the city of North Vancouver, British Columbia, from bitcoin mining.

The heat source will be introduced in 2022″

Has not happened.
Nothing has been saved, no people or businesses have been warmed.

“and will prevent 20,000 metric tons of greenhouse gas per megawatt from entering the atmosphere compared with natural gas, according to a statement shared with CoinDesk.”

More absurdity where people assume their use of electricity is magical, but the place that generates the electricity won’t have to emit 20,000 metric tons per megawatt just because the cryptocurrency generators are using the electricity…

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