Sustainable Bitcoin mining in Norway includes waste heat for drying wood
Norway has been at the forefront of renewable energy management in Europe. About a whopping 99 per cent of energy in Norway is derived from hydropower, and the grid most enjoys a green energy surplus.
However, for Norway’s biggest Bitcoin miner, Kryptovault, the usage of regenerative hydropower in attempting to solve valid Bitcoin blocks has not proven to be enough.
CEO of the largest data centre and Bitcoin miner Kryptovault, Kjetil Hove Pettersen, has recently spoken to media regarding Norway’s potential as the “ideal location for mining”, suggesting that alongside the log-drying operation, seaweed drying operations are slated for a kickstart in the first half of 2022.
According to Pettersen, the country boasts of a lot of “trapped” energy, highlighting that there could be a much higher production compared to consumption and a limited capacity to transfer the excess energy.
Pettersen has said that this translates into extremely low energy prices and that they can ‘rescue’ the trapped energy rather than wasting it.
The Guardian newspaper, has apparently flipped the narrative in its reporting on Kryptovault’s operation wherein in its article it considered if “Bitcoin can be sustainable?”
Svein Bjerke, general manager at the wood company that receives the dry logs, has answered that question in a video, where Bjerke can be heard saying that drying wood with waste heat from Bitcoin mining is actually the “most environmentally friendly way to do this.”
Moreover, the secondary benefits that can be derived from Bitcoin mining branch out to more than the physical environment, i.e., Honefoss grid’s customers would actually be better off due to the presence of Kryptovault’s energy-hungry process.
Employees at the Honefoss Bitcoin mining operation have named Kryptpvault “the Cathedral” due to its vast and cavernous expanse and also because of the hot air generated by Bitcoin mining rigs in the area is recycled for using to dry out chopped logs.
Grid fees are usually hacked down a year in the span of one year because the local area’s total energy consumption eventually increases. The more energy is used, the more prices come down in the long term. Going by the same estimate, the company indicates that around 2 million euros have been saved owing to Kryptovault’s existence in their grid.
Nonetheless, mining100 per cent green and renewable Bitcoin has not been easy this far in Norway. Numerous challenges surface the country’s miners, including project and engineering perspectives, financial challenges regarding banks, taxes and regulatory compliance. Only the step of setting up a bank account while working in the crypto industry “can be a large challenge today,” opine major miners of the region.
However, these obstacles are unlikely to hamper Kryptovault’s vision of transforming clean energy into Satoshis. Pettersen said he “can’t think of any better industrial use cases than what we are doing.”
When asked if Kryptovault would consider mining other cryptocurrencies except for Bitcoin, Pettersen remarked, “For us, Bitcoin is the name of the game.”