Part of North Vancouver soon to be heated with bitcoin power

Very energy-intensive, bitcoin mining is the subject of criticism from environmentalists. This process, necessary to secure bitcoin transactions, requires powerful computers and servers. But outside of cyberspace, it translates into an enormous amount of heat being created.

To restore the image of cryptocurrency, the company MintGreen has made it its mission to reuse this heat where it would be useful: in the homes of Canadians.

The company recently signed a 12-year contract with Lonsdale Energy Corporation (LEC), a company owned by the City of North Vancouver, which supplies it with hot water and heat.

By the end of 2022, around 100 buildings, including commercial buildings and apartments, should be powered by bitcoin energy in the municipality, estimates Colin Sullivan, the company’s general manager.

It’s very easy to reuse this energy to heat… for example, a room. But, on this municipal scale, it has never been done anywhere »

A quote from Colin Sullivan, Managing Director, MintGreen

We are very excited to do this for the first time, moreover, in our own backyard, herehe comments.

Computers that specialize in bitcoin mining generate large amounts of heat. (archives)

Photo: Radio-Canada / Lizaville Sale

A double environmental benefit

The Cambridge Bitcoin Electricity Consumption Index (New window) estimates that the annual energy consumption of the bitcoin network is around 112 TWh. This is the equivalent of the electricity consumption of the Netherlands.

This initiative of MintGreen will not only reuse waste heat from bitcoin mining, but it will also provide greener energy to the municipality, says Colin Sullivan.

Lonsdale Energy Corporation (LEC) primarily uses natural gas to supply buildings with heat; a fossil energy that it wishes to replace with renewable resources.

This partnership with mint green will allow strengthen LEC’s journey in support of the city’s ambitious greenhouse gas reduction targetssaid Karsten Veng, CEO of LEC, in a press release.

Under-exploited potential

The company has chosen to target the supply of homes to reuse its energy, because the demand there is consistent and the losses are lower. Colin Sullivan estimates that 96% of the energy produced by bitcoin mining will be used, although he would like to see this percentage be even higher.

We want to ensure the full use of our energy. On the hottest days of the year, demand will be lower, but households will still need hot water to run their dishwashers, washing machines, and take their baths.he said.

But the potential for reusing this energy is huge, he says, and the opportunities are limitless. I’ve heard things like people wanting to use this energy to heat their swimming pool, their farms, or even… make jerky.he lists.

MintGreen is also working on a partnership with craft distillery Shelter Point Distillery on Vancouver Island, where it will power part of its operations with bitcoin energy. There are many people excited about the concept of bitcoin whiskeyhe says.

There are so many people working in the field who want to change this energy-wasting narrative and use it for useful things.

Bitcoins are not going anywhere

If bitcoins are energy-intensive, Colin Sullivan considers the view that they are problematic for the environment to be reductive.

In the past, the same could have been said for the Internet, that it consumes too much energyhe said. But in the end, we created a very effective system. For example, if you consider newspaper printing, the Internet was not created to save trees, and yet it is.

Bitcoins aren’t going anywhere. At this point, it’s a trillion dollar industry. It will not disappear overnight. So what remains to be done is to make it even better and greener. »

A quote from Colin Sullivan, Managing Director, MintGreen

LEC did not respond to interview requests from Radio-Canada.

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