Stronghold Digital Mining (SDIG), a Pennsylvania-based digital mining company, is turning waste from old power plants into energy to power hundreds of bitcoin mining rigs.
The company collects waste coal, the leftover waste from the coal mining process, and burns it in what they say is an emission-controlled environment at their power facilities.
Coal waste can cause a number of environmental problems, such as water and air pollution, acidic mine runoff, and acidic waters from coal mining. Safely collecting and disposing of this waste while generating energy for cryptocurrency mining is a fruitful way to solve the problem.
Pennsylvania is the third largest producer of coal in the United States, with an estimated 881 pounds of waste coal for every 2,200 pounds of coal mined. Stronghold estimates that there are over 220 million tons of hazardous waste in Pennsylvania alone.
Bitcoin and other Proof of Work (PoW) cryptocurrencies have recently received regulatory attention due to their reliance on energy-intensive network mining and verification processes.
Earlier this month, a proposal was made in New York State to suspend fossil fuel production, citing the process’ negative environmental impact. This proposal was made today by the New York State Assembly. If passed, it could result in mining in New York being suspended for up to three years.
Related: Bitcoin Mining Could Benefit US Energy Dependency: Study
Other schemes have seen ways to make bitcoin mining greener. Earlier this month, oil company ConocoPhillips launched a program in North Dakota in which it will sell natural gas by-products from bitcoin miners rather than burning it.
Last August, Argo Blockchain, a UK-based crypto mining company, announced that its business is having a positive climate impact in terms of greenhouse gas emissions. A planned 200 megawatt mining facility in Texas will also run on renewable energy.