It’s another win for bitcoin miners and the environment. Dutch company Bitcoiner has installed a Bitcoin (BTC) miner in a warehouse to replace a natural gas-fired heating system.
Why? Because it is cheaper and more environmentally friendly and uses solar energy.
Bert de Groot is the founder of Bitcoin Brabant, a Dutch company that helps “companies adopt the Bitcoin standard.” He is always on the lookout for untapped sources of energy, and ways that bitcoin mining can improve business efficiency while saving money and the planet.
In this year’s greenhouse, for example, de Groot installed bitcoin miners to maintain the ideal temperature for flowers to bloom while reducing reliance on polluting natural gas. Of course, when de Groot learned that the warehouse owner had 50 megawatt-hours of backup power while his natural gas heating bill went through the roof, he sensed an opportunity to mine bitcoin.
De Groot told Cointelegraph that the warehouse (whose owner prefers to remain anonymous) has a 50 megawatt-hour surplus of electricity from the solar panel installation on the roof. Jokingly, it’s “too much”.
Roof panels power the warehouses, but the company burns natural gas to heat the warehouse. Even worse, despite having surplus power to sell to the grid, grid controllers in the Netherlands do not reward the excess capacity contributed – even if it is solar. Follow de Groot:
“You put a lot of solar energy on the roof, and you don’t get anything for the extra that you put back into the grid. So what we did was we put the [bitcoin] miner on.”
De Groot installed the Bitmain Antminer S19j Pro (104Th), an application-specific integrated circuit (ASIC) that consumes approximately 25 MWh per year. He lives in the “Bazooka”, an aptly named abode that releases hot air to heat the entire warehouse. As a Bitcoin miner, it not only generates heat but also income as it solves valid blocks on the Bitcoin blockchain.
Bazooka heater aimed at stock. Source: Bert
The introduction of a bitcoin miner solves three problems: First, a bitcoin miner is an efficient way to harness excess renewable energy into something profitable. Second, bitcoin miners generate enormous amounts of heat, which can be used as a coolant if properly harnessed. Third, while burning natural gas to heat the warehouse is polluting, the solar-powered bitcoin miner is environmentally friendly.
Currently, natural gas prices are rising in Europe due to scarcity. As a result, warehouse heating costs continue to rise. In comparison, solar energy is abundant and once the start-up costs are paid off, solar energy is practically free. To cut down on all this, the warehouse’s carbon footprint is now negative. De Groot sums up:
“So we [we burned] a lot of the natural gas as well as the electricity that was already there — which was renewable. So we basically switched to a zero-carbon storage with heating.”
In numbers, switching from natural gas heating to a bitcoin miner would prevent 2,000 cubic meters of gas from being burned each year, roughly equivalent to a “family home and a half” in an average Dutch home.
The Bitcoin miner takes up space in the corner of the warehouse. Source: Bert
Even better, the bitcoin miner pumps out constant heat – ideal for the Dutch winter with temperatures between 0 and 6 degrees Celsius – unlike an intermittent natural gas heater.
Related: Bitcoin Mining “Green Oasis”: Norway has almost 1% of the global Bitcoin Hash rate
The solution is a win-win for the warehouse, the environment and Bitcoin. de Groot shared in a tweet: “The release of Bazooka 8 is now in full swing. Thank you for all your support in being able to keep the business warm while natural gas prices are so high.”
So, presumably, de Groot’s phone must be ringing as warehouse owners across the globe catch wind of the Bitcoin miner’s heat revolution. Not quite, explained de Groot:
“In his [the department store owner’s] network, everyone thinks he’s crazy. So let’s see what happens in a couple of months when it’s winter, like a real winter.”