Data from a recent Ark Invest report highlights another utility for Bitcoin (BTC) mining in the realm of sustainability and energy.
According to the findings, there is enormous potential to transform methane emissions into energy for Bitcoin mining, which, in turn, will turbocharge solar and wind-generated electricity at onsite wells.
Important research from @skorusARK on #Bitcoin’s potential role in transforming methane emissions into bitcoin mining that will turbocharge electricity generated by solar and wind. @skorusARK https://t.co/6cgxGHNcJZ
— Cathie Wood (@CathieDWood) July 26, 2022
Annual gas flaring emissions equal 140 billion cubic meters, along with an additional 125 billion cubic meters in annual methane emissions. Therefore, left untouched, this means 265 billion cubic meters of natural gas emissions are wasted yearly. However, an analysis of the methane needed for the current Bitcoin hashrate stands at only 25 billion.
While harnessing the entirety of the emissions is impossible due to the oil industry’s preexisting flaring operations investments, capturing methane is a viable and early solution. Ark Invest’s Sam Korus tweeted that over half of all vented methane occurs onsite at wells. This makes the location a prime spot for mining to capture such emissions and productively employ them.
Additionally, instead of the methane being vented, it would be able to generate electricity at rates far below what mining companies currently pay.
Recently, the mining industry has been showing signs of increased energy efficiency and a pivot towards sustainability.
Last week, the Bitcoin Mining Council released its Q2 review of the network. It revealed the industry’s use of sustainable energy is up 6% from the same quarter in the previous years. In the conclusion to their findings, the council referred to Bitcoin mining as “one of the most sustainable industries globally.”
However, this has been an active effort to change on the part of the mining industry. Previously, environmentalists shamed the industry due to its unjustifiable carbon footprint.
Korus suggests that while there are other ways to harness methane, Bitcoin mining is an ideal option as “It is highly scalable with modular hardware that can be transported to and shifted among operating well sites.”
While the new data backs up these claims, they are not new. There are already companies actively doing so. Back in February, Cointelegraph spoke with Kristian Csepcsa, the chief marketing officer of Slush Pool, on how miners are aiding oil companies with flare reduction by running their generators on natural gas, which would otherwise be burned off.
Nonetheless, there are still skeptics. One Twitter user pointed out that the emissions in question are not naturally occurring. Rather, they are extracted via fossil fuel extraction, which due to climate change, is under pressure to be cut entirely.
@skorusARK U seem to be missing the big picture. We aren’t talking about naturally occuring gas emissions, but emissions caused by extracting fossile fuels from the ground, right? This extraction has to stop completely in the next few years @fossiltreaty. That’s the real solution
— siegfried.arweave.dev (@ZwigoZwitscher) July 26, 2022
As the industry continues to adapt to global sustainability standards, time will tell if such solutions will bring about the future of Bitcoin mining and energy production.