In an attempt to further decrease energy costs and its impact on the environment, BitFury announced that it was launching the world’s largest two-phase immersion cooling (2PIC) project at its new data center in the Republic of Georgia.
By using the technology from Allied Control, bought in January, and the Novec 7100 Engineered Fluid from industrial giant 3M, the company is hoping to optimize its operations and make them more green. The firm intends on using 3M’s fluid to cool more than 40 megawatts of processing power.
“The maintenance cost of traditional low-cost air cooling systems is quite high compared to immersion cooling, and it is very problematic to use low-cost air cooling systems in the areas with hot weather, it becomes very costly,” said Valery Vavilov, CEO of BitFury, in an interview with Bitcoin Magazine.
Vavilov explained that the utilization of immersion cooling allows for a reduction in maintenance costs. Further, it opens up the possibility of the company launching mining operations in parts of the world that would otherwise not provide efficient cooling.
“In addition, we are able to deploy it in the areas with hot weather climate which opens possibility to operate literally in any location in the world. Also, for chips, this fluid is ideal exploitation environment and it allows to run them with maximum possible efficiency that just cannot be achieved using low-cost air-cooled systems,” he explained.
2PIC works by placing hardware in a specially designed tank with a liquid coolant such as the Novec 7100. What makes this fluid particularly useful is that it has a low boiling point, which means that as it heats, it starts to evaporate much more quickly. That pulls the heat away from the hardware in the device, allowing them to operate at a higher rate for much longer. When the vapor hits a water-cooled condenser coil, it becomes a fluid again and falls back into the tank, thus reducing the amount of fluid loss significantly.
“One of the primary limitations for computer performance is the thermal environment. Two-phase immersion cooling with Novec fluids provides tight coupling between device temperatures and the fluid boiling temperature. This means that these devices operate in a narrower temperature band,” explained Michael Garceau, 3M Business Development Manager, Data Center Markets, in an interview with Bitcoin Magazine. “This is true not just for the processors, but for the circuits and devices delivering power to them. This, in turn, allows the hardware to be driven harder on average than would be possible in air and “overclocked” as is often done in the most profitable early stages of a mining deployment.”
Garceau also explained that because these 2PIC-specific boards don’t require heat sinks and cold plates, the processing hardware can be more densely packed with the 2PIC boards. This enables improved overclocking capacity.
“500-watt ASICs have been successfully overclocked to well over 750 watts. 2PIC with a Novec fluid will enable BitFury to lower operational costs by allowing them to run ASICs more efficiently,” Garceau explained.
The Environment is Key for BitFury
According to Garceau, “The streamlined system can deliver as much as 95 percent cooling energy savings with minimal fluid loss.” The cost of cooling hardware is an additional expense that many miners don’t consider when first starting out. Big scale fans require electricity.
“Green transaction processing is a significant and important part of our business strategy. With our acquisition of Allied Control, we have been able not only to utilize renewable energy sources like hydropower in our datacenter located in the Republic of Georgia, but also achieve a very energy-efficient cooling despite hot daytime temperatures,” explained Vavilov.
The Novec Engineered Fluids are nonflammable, have zero ozone depletion potential, have a low global warming potential, are Hazardous Air Pollutant-free, and are U.S. EPA SNAP-approved. And because the majority of the fluid condenses and drops back into the tank, replenishment isn’t needed for multiple hardware generations.
All told, BitFury is focused on delivering blockchain transaction processing in an efficient and green environment.
“We strive to ensure low carbon print and high efficiency of all our operations and already rely on renewable energy – thermal and hydropower – for all our operations,” Vavilov said. “We are also in the process of developing low-cost wind turbine technology that will provide another affordable and effective energy solution. We plan that by next year our data centers will be powered by the low-cost renewable energy generated by our new wind turbines. This will allow to further significantly lower our electricity cost and secure a long-term access to cheap electricity on a predictable basis.”
With electricity being the primary outlier that separates the profitable miners from the unprofitable, taking control of the supply of that power ensures that BitFury can remain profitable while also doing its part to reduce the significant carbon footprint found in bitcoin mining.
Jacob Donnelly is a full-time product manager and freelance journalist covering stocks, business and bitcoin. He runs a weekly digital currency and blockchain newsletter called Crypto Brief.