A Canadian entrepreneur has sought to recycle the heat generated through bitcoin mining by growing plants and fish suited to the temperatures produced by cryptocurrency mining rigs by utilizing an aquaponic system.
Bruce Hardy, a Manitoba-based entrepreneur, has sought to repurpose the heat produced by his bitcoin mining rig to produce edible plants and fish that are suited to the temperatures generated by cryptocurrency mining equipment. Mr. Hardy owns and operates 30 mining rigs, which are housed in a 20,000-square-foot building situated in the Rural Municipality of St. Francois Xavier, Manitoba. The heat produced by the miners is then circulated throughout the building, and used to grow edible plants and fish.
Approximately 800 Arctic Char are raised in a large fish tank located on the first floor of the building. The water that the fish are raised becomes highly rich in nitrates – and thus comprises an excellent plant fertilizer. With the press of a button, Mr. Hardy is able to remotely pump the nitrate-rich water to feed the lettuce, basil, and sprouted barley fodder which is grown aquaponically on the floor above the fish. “It’s all connected, much like Earth,” Mr. Hardy told local news. Mr. Hardy is also the president of Myera Group – a company that seeks to develop innovative and sustainable systems for food production.
Mr. Hardy states that he has mined bitcoin for approximately two years. After initially investing in large-scale air conditioning to cool his mining rig, Mr. Hardy states that he realized the heat produced by mining could be diverted to be used for agricultural production. “When bitcoin came, they were an excellent proxy for what a server could do in terms of emulating heat, and whether we could use that heat for agricultural purposes,” said Mr. Hardy.
The Reeve of the Rural Municipality of St. Francois Xavier, Dwayne Clark, has spoken in support of Mr. Hardy’s project, stating “From what we’ve seen so far, it looks like a popular move for the community. It’s already cleaned up what used to be an eyesore for a number of years.” Mr. Hardy also attested to the benefits reaped by the local community through his operations stating that “The revenue from those bitcoins has helped me to keep staff on, it’s helped me create these displays so we can show people what we’re doing in agriculture innovation.”
Mr. Hardy states that the project is still in its infancy, with only a quarter of the building’s second floor presently housing mining equipment and plants. Mr. Hardy claims to have received interest in his operation from Chinese investors and Australian researchers, and hopes to soon be able to expand his project to fill the unused space in his building.
Canadian provinces such as Manitoba are increasingly being seen as an enticing locating for cryptocurrency companies to establish operations in, owing to the province’s cheap and plentiful hydropower. “Hydro is one of our best assets in the province,” said Mr. Hardy, “If we can take our energy and use it here in Manitoba, we value-add that energy, and we can do all sorts of great things,”
Aside from offering cheap commercial hydroelectricity, Manitoba experiences among the lowest temperatures of major cities in North America – which has recently garnered the attention of major cryptocurrency mining companies seeking to flee the regulatory uncertainty presently associated with China. According to Manitoba Hydro, the company has received over 100 inquiries from cryptocurrency miners in the past three months about specific sites, including from North American brokers representing Chinese investors.
Despite such, Reuters reports that “Manitoba Hydro is asking the province’s utilities board to approve a rate increase of 7.9 percent across the board, effective April 1, 2018,” – which would render the cost of electricity in Manitoba considerable higher than that offered by the nearby Canadian province of Quebec.
Post from news.bitcoin.com