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Sunday, May 19, 2024
Mugglehead Magazine
Alternative investment news based in Vancouver, B.C.

Alternative Energy

Cornell University study proposes pairing cryptocurrency mining with green hydrogen production

This approach helps enhance the overall effectiveness of climate change strategies

Cornell University study proposes pairing cryptomining with green hydrogen production
A Bitcoin mining centre. Image from Olgo Maltseva via Getty Images

Pairing cryptocurrency mining with green hydrogen production could provide a stable foundation for deployment of renewable energy options such as solar and wind power, according to a new study from Cornell University.

Released on Monday, the study explores how combining green hydrogen infrastructure with bitcoin mining can significantly contribute to climate change mitigation.

Recognizing the environmental impact of current crypto-operations, particularly their high carbon emissions, the authors suggest leveraging the popularity and economic potential of bitcoin to support sustainable energy initiatives.

The research findings indicate that integrating green hydrogen production with bitcoin mining can substantially increase investment in renewable energy. This would lead to capacity expansions of up to 25.5 per cent for solar power and 73.2 per cent for wind power installations.

This approach helps reduce the carbon footprint associated with bitcoin mining. It also enhances the overall effectiveness of climate change strategies. By implementing appropriate policy measures alongside these technological solutions, it’s possible to bolster renewable energy generation. This would improve carbon offsetting efforts, and make significant strides towards achieving climate sustainability.

In their research, Professor Fengqi You and doctoral student Apoorv Lal analyzed individual U.S. states to identify energy strengths in each region. They found that supporting cryptocurrency could accelerate the construction of additional energy infrastructure.

For instance, mining Bitcoin in New Mexico could potentially generate 78.4 megawatt hours of solar power. Meanwhile, mining Bitcoin in Wyoming could potentially produce 265.8 megawatt hours of wind power.

“Since current cryptocurrency operations now contribute heavily to worldwide carbon emissions, it becomes vital to explore opportunities for harnessing the widespread enthusiasm for cryptocurrency as we move toward a sustainable and climate-friendly future,” You said.

Read more: Jury gives Sam Bankman-Fried 25 year sentence for FTX scam

Read more: Crypto mining pollution lawsuit targets Pennsylvania company

Cryptocurrency mining uses as much energy as Argentina

According to a 2022 report from the White House Office of Science and Technology, mining blockchain-based cryptocurrency in the U.S. consumes as much carbon-based energy as the entire country of Argentina.

Computer power-hungry consensus mechanisms, known as “proof of work,” which verify crypto-assets, drive nearly all domestic crypto-mining electricity consumption.

Additionally, the U.S. Energy Information Administration’s preliminary estimates suggest that cryptocurrency mining’s annual electricity consumption in 2023 likely accounts for 0.6 per cent to 2.3 per cent of all electricity consumption in America.

“By leveraging cryptocurrencies as virtual energy carriers in tandem with using green hydrogen,” You said, “we can transform what was once an environmental challenge into a dynamic force for climate mitigation and sustainability.”

Green hydrogen is produced through a process known as electrolysis. This process involves electricity sourced from renewable energy like wind, solar, or hydro power. These sources are then used to split water into hydrogen and oxygen.

This method is environmentally friendly because it does not emit carbon dioxide or other harmful greenhouse gases. The electricity’s renewable origin is what qualifies the hydrogen produced as “green.”

Once produced, green hydrogen can serve as a versatile energy carrier. It can be stored and transported to be used across various sectors including transportation, industrial processes, and electricity generation. Its capacity to store energy from renewable sources for long periods makes green hydrogen a promising technology for achieving a sustainable future. However, one of the stumbling blocks is the requirement of stronger federal policies on climate goals and renewable energy.

“Coupled with green hydrogen, this approach to cryptocurrency not only mitigates its own environmental impact but pioneers a sustainable path for renewable energy transition,” You said.

“It’s a novel strategy.”

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