What’s the matter? Despite concerns about Bitcoin mining’s enormous power demands and environmental impacts, crypto mining companies continue to innovate solutions to power problems. Pennsylvania’s Scrubgrass power station was recently bought by a holding company. The plant produces enough power to support 1,800 Bitcoin miners. By 2022, the plant will be capable of supporting more than 20,000.
The power required to mine the most popular cryptocurrencies, such as Bitcoin and Ethereum, is enormous. One Bitcoin transaction can consume upwards of 1,700 kWh (including the resources required to mine the currency and verify it). Due to the ever-increasing demand for power, large crypto mining companies have had to use every resource available to generate their power at the l lowest cost. This can lead to mining operations taking power production literally into their own hands in some cases.
Stronghold Digital Mining, Kennerdell, Pennsylvania has joined the ranks for mining companies that are trying to solve their power supply problems themselves. Stronghold Digital Mining, a company that uses regional hydroelectricity, or other companies leveraging energy credits, and payments from their states, recently bought the Scrubgrass power station in Venango County. Stronghold advertises that their company is an “environmentally-beneficial and vertically integrated Bitcoin miner”. The plant will burn Pennsylvania’s coal to power the on-site mining equipment located in shipping containers near the plant. The residual coal from coal mining operations is called waste coal. It can leach metals into the soil and water sources, which can cause severe environmental damage.
Stronghold plans on claiming and burning waste coal, and then delivering the previously contaminated land back to Pennsylvania via the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection. According to current DEP statistics, Stronghold has helped to restore more than 1,000 acres of Pennsylvanian land. Despite being able to burn the waste coal and reduce the risk of contamination, it still emits significant amounts of carbon dioxide. These kinds of emissions continue to be a concern for environmental watchdogs who monitor Bitcoin’s energy consumption and pollution footprint.
Bitcoin mining is different from Ethereum mining which uses traditional graphics processing units (GPUs). Instead, it relies on specialized hardware called application-specific integrated circuits. Although GPUs can be repurposed to do anything, including mining other algorithms or performing their intended rendering tasks. Bitcoin ASICs were specifically designed to provide the required hash power to mine Bitcoin’s SHA256 algorithm.