Well-Constructed Solution: Geothermal to Power Bitcoin Mining
The mining of cryptocurrency, or bitcoin, is an energy-intensive process, and entrepreneurs are looking at several technologies—including innovative geothermal energy techniques—to power their operations.
Among the latest is a service from a California-based renewable energy group, RenewaBit, which has joined with CeraPhi Energy, a Houston, Texas-based company, to produce geothermal energy with integrated crypto mining offtake. The groups’ GreenFlash service retrofits oil and gas wells, providing sustainable energy and an incentive for well owners to make wells more profitable at any stage of operation.
The strategy aligns with RenewaBit’s focus on helping renewable energy assets commercialize merchant or curtailed energy with cryptocurrency mining facilities. Their technology, in addition to powering bitcoin mining, could be used to provide electricity to remote locations and communities, along with extending the life—and profitability—of oil and gas wells, particularly attractive to well operators with prices for those commodities rising.
Clean Energy for Bitcoin Mining
RenewaBit executives told POWER that by connecting utility-scale crypto mining to green energy generation assets, the company will not only bring clean energy to the cryptocurrency network, it also can make renewable energy more profitable—and reduce the environmental issues around the global use of cryptocurrency.
GreenFlash leverages the proprietary CeraPhiWell closed-loop geothermal technology, which allows operating wells to continue producing oil and natural gas while at the same time generating geothermal energy. RenewaBit executives told POWER the company’s crypto mining data centers “represent a fully scalable offtake solution that commercializes produced geothermal energy at high variable yields, and require small land and electrical infrastructure requirements,” noting the system uses about 400 square feet of space per MW produced.
“We are focused directly on supporting green energy growth” said Ian Hartley, RenewaBit’s CEO, in an interview with POWER. “There are lot of bitcoin miners in the market, who want to get projects deployed and increase their computing power, regardless of their energy source. We’re focused specifically on working on green energy. It might have been easier for us to simply build hyperscale bitcoin mining data centers, but we know that bitcoin needs to have a reckoning with its energy use and its environmental footprint. You can look at us as an enabler for a green bitcoin network, and as a market facilitator for green energy growth.”
“Because many wells are in remote locations with limited local power demand or electrical infrastructure, RenewaBit’s scalable data centers make it possible for us to commercialize vastly more wells than otherwise possible,” said Lafayette Herring, VP of North America for CeraPhi, in a news release. Herring said, “The GreenFlash solution now makes the majority of wells a suitable option for retrofitting due to the scalable high yields that can be created by RenewaBit in any location.”
Support for Geothermal Technology
Kathleen Sifer, a managing director at Grant Thornton and a public sector loan and grant programs told POWER, “Proof that there is viability to geothermal potential is evidenced by the U.S. Dept. of Energy [DOE] Geothermal Technology Office’s Wells of Opportunity program, which earlier this year committed $8.4 million to four projects to establish new geothermal energy and heat production from abandoned oil and gas wells…