Stronghold Digital Mining (SDIG), a Pennsylvania-based cryptocurrency mining company, is turning waste from old power plants into energy to power hundreds of Bitcoin mining rigs.
The company collects coal waste, the remaining waste from the coal mining process, and burns it in what it says is a controlled emission environment at its power facilities.
Coal waste can cause many environmental problems, such as water and air pollution, as well as acidic mine runoff, acidic water from coal mining. Collecting this waste and safely disposing of it to generate energy for cryptocurrency mining is a productive way to solve the problem.
Pennsylvania is the third largest coal producer in the United States, with an estimated loss of 881 pounds of coal per 2,200 pounds mined, or 400 kg per ton. Stronghold estimates that there are over 220 million tons of hazardous waste in Pennsylvania alone.
Bitcoin and other proof-of-work cryptocurrencies have recently received regulatory attention due to their reliance on energy-intensive processes to mine and provide network verification.
Earlier this month, New York State proposed to suspend mining operations using fossil fuels, citing the process’ negative environmental impact. This proposal was put forward by the New York State Assembly today. If passed, proof-of-work mining could be suspended for up to 3 years in New York.
Related: Bitcoin mining could be good for US energy independence: study
Other schemes have seen ways to make Bitcoin mining environmentally friendly. Earlier this month, oil drilling company ConocoPhillips launched a program in North Dakota in which it will sell natural gas by-products from its operations to Bitcoin miners instead of burning it.
Last August, Argo Blockchain, a UK-based cryptocurrency mining company, announced that its operations had become “climate positive” due to greenhouse gas emissions. Its planned 200 MW mining facility in Texas will also run on renewable energy.