According to a 2018 study, the practice of bitcoin mining consumes so much electricity, the industry is expending the same amount of energy as the entire country of Ireland. The amount of resources necessary to process blockchain transactions requires considerable amounts of energy, and excess heat generated by bitcoin mining significantly contributes to the cryptocurrency carbon footprint. But a new mining company is looking to turn some of that wasted energy into heat for buildings.
Quebec-based Heatmine generates all its power from renewable resources, making its carbon footprint fairly small. The company also collects the waste heat from its mining equipment, to recycle it, reuse it, and increase its value.
“Our solution will grow into the electric heat market.”
– Jonathan Forte, Heatmine CEO
Heatmine is currently testing a system of decentralized mining machines that link to external heating systems, like those found in homes and businesses. By connecting a mining computer to a heating system, the company can transmit the generated heat to more constructive use.
“Miners produce heat 24/7 by running cpu processors and gpu cores. If you store the heat, you realize very rapidly the quantity of energy waste by an air cooling system,” said Jonathan Forte, Heatmine CEO. “Our solution will grow into the electric heat market: an electric network already designed. In addition, the electricity is used two times: mining operation and heat.”
The device itself encompasses a 1.5 square-metre cabinet, fitted with a hot water tank inside, and a shelf of 63 graphics cards, which are all unified by a network of copper piping and PVC. Each unit is prepared with a 3G data connection for remote supervision, and the units are fixed outside of a customer’s building. Each cabinet is secured externally, which precludes any interference.
Heatmine units can heat buildings that range from small residential houses to large industrial plants. During tests conducted in 2018, Heatmine units successfully delivered free heat to greenhouses and churches located in Quebec.
In one greenhouse test, Heatmine piloted its tech at a Quebec greenhouse that cultivates strawberries. The owners said the energy consumed for heating, air conditioning and supplemental lighting embodies the greatest cost for them. With the new system, heating costs are offset 75 – 100 percent. The greenhouse owners also said Heatmine was able to significantly reduce their production costs, making their price as competitive as strawberries from Mexico.
One of the company’s machines can supply 75,000 BTU in an hour, which is enough to heat 300 square meters for an entire day. In larger buildings, the company would install additional units in residences or business. Since Northern countries like Canada need up to ten months of continuous heating every year, Heatmine’s objective is to decentralize one million cryptocurrency miners in five years could help resolve widespread heating issues in Canada.
Heatmine has been collaborating with mining experts and engineers since 2012. The company plans to continue its expansion in Canada, but will also begin to supply its machines in the U.S.
Images via Heatmine.