Data from the latest Ark Invest report highlights another benefit of Bitcoin (BTC) mining in the area of sustainability and energy.
According to the findings, there is a huge potential for converting methane emissions into energy for bitcoin mining, which in turn will charge electricity generated by solar and wind energy in on-site wells.
Annual gas flaring emissions equal 140 billion cubic meters, plus an additional 125 billion cubic meters of annual methane emissions. Therefore, if left untouched, this means that 265 billion cubic meters of natural gas emissions are wasted annually. However, the methane analysis required for the current Bitcoin hash is only 25 billion.
While harnessing the full emissions is impossible due to the pre-existing flaring investments in the oil industry, methane capture is a viable and early solution. Ark Invest’s Sam Koros tweeted that more than half of the methane gas emitted occurs on-site in wells. This makes the site a prime location for mining to capture and productively employ these emissions.
Plus, instead of venting methane, it will be able to generate electricity at much lower rates than mining companies are currently paying.
Recently, the mining industry has shown signs of increasing energy efficiency and a pivot towards sustainability.
Last week, the Bitcoin Mining Board released its review of the network’s second quarter. It revealed that the industry’s use of sustainable energy increased by 6% compared to the same quarter in previous years. Concluding their findings, the board referred to bitcoin mining as “one of the most sustainable industries globally.”
However, this has been an active effort to change on the part of the mining industry. Previously, environmentalists shamed the industry for its unexplained carbon footprint.
Koros suggests that while there are other ways to harness methane, bitcoin mining is an ideal option because it is “highly scalable with modular hardware that can be moved to operating well sites and moved between them.”
While the new data supports these claims, it is not new. There are already companies actively doing this. Last February, Cointelegraph spoke with Christian Sebexa, Slush Pool’s chief marketing officer, about how miners are helping oil companies reduce flare-ups by running their generators with natural gas, which would otherwise be burned.
However, there are still skeptics. One Twitter user pointed out that the emissions in question do not occur naturally. Instead, it is extracted by extracting fossil fuels, which are under pressure to be cut out entirely due to climate change.
As the industry continues to adapt to global sustainability standards, time will tell whether these solutions deliver the future of bitcoin mining and energy production.