SDIG, a crypto mining firm based in Pennsylvania, is converting trash from decommissioned power plants into energy to power hundreds of Bitcoin mining machines.
The company collects coal refuse, which is a byproduct of the coal mining process, and burns it in what it claims is an emissions-controlled atmosphere at its power plants.
Coal refuse can result in a variety of environmental issues, including water and air pollution, as well as acid mine drainage, which is acidic water produced by coal mining activities. Collecting and safely disposing of this garbage while generating power for crypto mining is a viable solution to the problem.
Pennsylvania is the third-largest coal producer in the United States, with coal waste estimated to be 881 pounds per 2,200 pounds extracted, or 400 kilograms each ton. According to Stronghold, Pennsylvania contains about 220 million tons of hazardous waste.
Bitcoin and other proof-of-work cryptocurrencies have recently drawn the attention of regulators since they rely on energy-intensive procedures to mine and provide network validation. A New York state proposal to suspend proof-of-work mining that requires fossil fuels was introduced earlier this month, and the New York State Assembly advanced the idea today, citing the detrimental environmental impact of the process.
If passed, proof-of-work mining in New York could be banned for up to three years.
Other programs have looked for ways to make Bitcoin mining less harmful to the environment. ConocoPhillips, an oil drilling company, launched a scheme in North Dakota earlier this month to sell natural gas byproducts to Bitcoin miners rather of burning them.
Argo Blockchain, a crypto mining company based in the United Kingdom, stated in August that its operations have become “climate positive” in terms of greenhouse gas emissions. It also intends to run its planned 200 MW mining operation in Texas on renewable energy.
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