One of North America’s Biggest Miners Harnesses Flare Gas Energy

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In Brief
  • Crusoe Energy diverts natural gas found at oil drilling sites to generators to power its mining operation.

  • The company's efforts have reduced carbon dioxide emissions by well over half.

  • Now one of the largest mining operations in North America, Crusoe secured a $128M Series B financing round in April.

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Amid the ongoing debate surrounding the environmental impact of bitcoin (BTC) mining, light has fallen on Denver-based operation Crusoe Energy. A company that uses energy from flare gas to mine BTC.

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Reports indicate that, in harnessing flare gas energy, Crusoe Energy has cut carbon dioxide emissions by well over half. Otherwise, equated as removing approximately 1,700 cars from the road.

Crusoe Energy installs piping systems to divert natural gas into generators, which in turn power the BTC mining operation. Oil companies would ordinarily burn off (or flare) the natural gas, when finding it incidentally at oil drilling sites. Since the company’s inception, its efforts have led to a 1 billion cubic feet reduction in flaring.

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With units now in multiple states, including its headquarters state Colorado, as well as Montana and North Dakota, Crusoe is now regarded one of the largest BTC mining operations in North America. Helped along by a multimillion-dollar Series B financing round back in April.

The company closed with a $128 million investment, with Valor Equity Systems at the head. Coinbase Ventures and Winklevoss Capital were also among the participants.

Mining with alternative energy sources

One of the biggest turn-ups for BTC this year is El Salvador’s decision to adopt it as legal tender. The first country in the world to do so. The bill passed on June 9, after a majority congressional vote of 62 in favor out of 84.

Immediately following this decision, the country’s president, Nayib Bukele, revealed plans to harness volcanic energy to mine BTC. El Salvador currently has around 20 active volcanoes.

President Bukele tweeted:

“I’ve just instructed the president of @LaGeoSV [LaGeo] (our state-owned geothermal electric company), to put up a plan to offer facilities for #Bitcoin mining with very cheap, 100% clean, 100% renewable, 0 emissions energy from our volcanos.”

The President followed up shortly afterwards, confirming that engineers had dug a new well, which would provide around 95MW of clean geothermal energy from El Salvador’s volcanoes.

The crypto mining environmental row

The environmental implications of BTC mining has been a subject of furious debate this year so far, with many nations cracking down on their respective operations. China, once a center for the world’s BTC mining, is now undertaking a systematic, nationwide ban. The city of Ya’an is the latest to face the prohibition. Officials announced Ya’an mining farms, which accounted for around 10% of the world’s BTC mining operations, would cease.

Meanwhile, the row surrounding crypto’s impact on the environment has also led to some controversial decisions. Such as those made by Elon Musk back in May. The Tesla CEO shocked many by suspending BTC as a payment option for vehicle purchases. 

The billionaire has since stated that Tesla will allow BTC transactions again, as soon as “there’s confirmation of reasonable (~50%) clean energy usage by miners with positive future trend.”

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Dale Hurst is a journalist, presenter, and novelist. Before joining the Be In Crypto team, he was an editor and senior journalist at a news, lifestyle and human-interest magazine in the UK. Cryptocurrency was one of the first subjects he specialized in when first going freelance in 2018, reviewing exchanges and analysing lawsuits.

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