Marathon Digital Holdings Inc. (NASDAQ: MARA) is launching a 280 kilowatt (kW) Bitcoin mining pilot project in Utah fuelled entirely by methane gas from landfills.
The company announced an agreement with renewable energy asset provider, Nodal Power, on Thursday. The pilot project is fully energized and operational.
The company is conducting a pilot project as part of a broader initiative to validate its ability to capture methane emitted from landfills, convert it into electricity, and then use that electricity to power Bitcoin miners. By doing so, the company may be able to help reduce greenhouse gas emissions while utilizing a completely renewable and off-grid energy source to power its Bitcoin miners.
“At Marathon, we are constantly seeking innovative ways to diversify our operations, lower our energy costs, and leverage the unique aspects of Bitcoin mining to better the environments in which we operate,” said Fred Thiel, Marathon’s chairman and CEO.
“By capturing the methane emitted from landfills and converting it into electricity to power our Bitcoin miners, we may have an opportunity to accomplish all of those goals simultaneously.”
Thiel said that landfills, biowaste and various other sources naturally generate methane, which often goes unused. Bitcoin companies like Marathon have a special opportunity to transform this harmful gas into a valuable and eco-friendly energy resource.
Methane is 80 times more harmful than carbon dioxide for 20 years after release, according to the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP).
If the pilot project delivers the expected results, Thiel says the company is eager to grow its presence in this field and assist landfill operators and other stakeholders in achieving their environmental goals.
Biogas represents a significant opportunity for Bitcoin mining
Landfills contribute significantly to global methane emissions, according to a joint report between Marathon and Bitcoin Magazine Pro. If they were reduced they could have a more substantial environmental impact than the management of carbon dioxide emissions.
Conventional methods of managing methane, such as venting and flaring, prove to be inefficient and environmentally harmful.
Meanwhile, solutions for converting waste-to-energy, such as selling electricity to the grid or distributing renewable natural gas (RNG) through pipelines, often appear economically unfeasible for smaller or remote landfills.
The process initiates with the landfill waste capturing methane and using it to generate electricity through generators or microturbines. These generators or microturbines then supply electricity to power Bitcoin mining rigs, converting the previously emitted greenhouse gas into both a renewable energy source and a revenue stream for the landfill.
Bitcoin mining presents a market-based approach to mitigating methane emissions from landfills by converting otherwise wasted potential energy into economic value.
It requires minimal infrastructure investments and offers geographic flexibility, modularity and scalability. In theory, Bitcoin mining can assist any landfill, regardless of size and geographic location, in reducing its emissions while gaining an additional income stream.
The report says Bitcoin mining can offer a practical solution for landfills facing challenges in making the economics of waste-to-energy conversion feasible. Even the smallest landfills can benefit from Bitcoin mining, as it enables them to convert their waste into a valuable resource. This approach assists landfill owners in implementing strategies to reduce methane emissions and adhere to regulations.
Marathon Digital Holdings’ Bitcoin mining pilot project in Utah, powered by landfill methane, demonstrates a sustainable and innovative approach to reducing greenhouse gas emissions while generating revenue from waste-to-energy conversion.