Energy consumption from Bitcoin mining is massive, and people are taking notice. The increases have been scaling fast, with mining energy usage quickly surpassing the totals of small countries. And many see this ever-increasing carbon footprint as a threat to climate change.
But it’s no threat. In fact, increasing energy usage might save the plant, as the large quantities of heat produced as a byproduct can be reused in local farming.
Data Center-Heated Greenhouses
Seeking to make their region more sustainable, the Boden Business Agency is looking to partner with energy-intensive industries to create synergies between the two, and our company, Genesis Mining, has stepped in to offer computing power. The partnership also includes the Research Institutes of Sweden (RISE) and the Luleå University of Technology.
Nordic countries have already attracted mining operations due to the sustainable and cheap energy sources available. But there’s now an opportunity for mining operations to give back in the form of providing excess heat to greenhouses to grow food, making the local economy more productive and sustainable. According to Mattias Vesterlund, a senior researcher at RISE, “A 1 MW data center would have the ability to strengthen the local self-sufficiency up to 8 percent with products that are competitive on the market.”
Genesis Mining is providing a 600 kW air-cooled data center container, which will feed heat to a 300-square-meter greenhouse through a specially-built air duct system. The heat would keep the greenhouse at a comfortable 25°C (77°F) year round, in a region where temperatures can fall as low as -30°C (-22°F). The project looks to focus on growing fruits and vegetables, but data center heat can be used for fish, insect and algae farming, as well as provide heat for fruit and vegetable drying.
The project is also a social one that’s bringing together local farmers, municipalities, scientists and the IT industry. Mining operations are solving local problems of sustainable food production scalability, and local farms are giving mining operations ways to recycle their waste and offset their carbon footprint.