As the price of bitcoin rises, bitcoin's hashrate is also rising. Mining computers around the world are humming away and at the same time are producing amounts of waste in the form of excess heat that is unprecedented.
Enterprising miners like Burnaby-based MintGreen, a Canadian cleantech bitcoin miner, is already leading the waste reuse space with their heat sales to a local brewery and a sea salt distillery.
Other miners are using excess heat to power greenhouse operations (growing flowers and vegetables), home heating, and jacuzzis.
Now MintGreen is getting into industrial sales with a 12-year contract to provide heat with their new “Digital Boilers” (which recover more than 96% of the electricity used for mining) to North Vancouver’s district energy system to heat commercial and residential buildings.
For MintGreen, heat recovery projects are a win-win as they get to reuse the initial hydro, for mining and for sale.
City of North Vancouver, BC
Located in the hills north of Vancouver, the City of North Vancouver uses a hydronic district energy system for heating that delivers heat to 100 residential and commercial buildings.
North Vancouver City council has taken the issue of climate change to heart and has set its own emissions reduction goals. According to their release:
“In 2019, the City of North Vancouver Council passed a motion for the City to increase its greenhouse gas reduction targets to achieve net zero by 2050, and reduce emissions by 80% below 2007 levels by 2040.”
Over the term of their contract with the city, MintGreen’s Digital Boilers will prevent 20,000 tonnes of GHGs from entering the atmosphere per MW compared to natural gas.
“The complex issue of climate change requires innovative solutions, and LEC, with the City of North Vancouver, is showing tremendous leadership in environmental stewardship.” said MintGreen CEO, Colin Sullivan in an announcement today.
Lonsdale Energy Corporation Steps Into The Future
The Lonsdale Energy Corporation (LEC) is owned by the city and has been providing energy here since 2003. LEC is working with the city to find ways to reduce its carbon footprint or decarbonize.
“The LEC is on a decarbonization journey to implement more renewable and clean energy, transitioning from the use of conventional natural gas,” says the announcement released today.
The city currently uses a mix of energy sources according to the website:
“LEC presently uses a combination of high efficiency natural gas boilers, ground source heat pumps, heat recovery from building cooling, and solar thermal panels to heat hot water.”
“LEC is continually exploring ways to use waste heat from buildings and industrial processes located adjacent to the district energy system, and switching to alternative and renewable fuels. LEC will transition to using zero emissions energy sources as soon as it becomes economical to do so. This move is already underway in Central Lonsdale where LEC's mini-plant is powered by solar energy.”
In the announcement today, LEC CEO Karsten Veng said;
“Being partners with MintGreen on this project is very exciting for LEC, in that it’s an innovative and cost competitive project, and it reinforces the journey LEC is on to support the City’s ambitious greenhouse gas reduction targets.”
Veng hopes that the MintGreen Digital Boiler pilot project could be the launchpad for future expansion opportunities as the City of North Vancouver continues to grow.
“Today’s announcement also mentioned the federal government’s proposed $170 per tonne carbon tax coming into effect in 2029 which will drive up the cost of natural gas, another reason to cut carbon.
In an interview with Bitcoin Magazine, Sullivan told us that there isn’t any way that bitcoin mining could be greener.
Over 97% of BC Hydro’s energy mix is hydroelectric. Using that energy twice both eliminates waste and makes this project one of the greenest in the space, he explained.
Mining with hydro already makes MintGreen green and reusing that same energy to sell heat makes it that much more eco-friendly.
Samson Mow, CSO for Blockstream Inc who is acting as a special advisor to the MintGreen team, told us:
“MintGreen’s new innovation is a perfect example of how mining bitcoin can be the greenest use of energy on the planet”