Gas fees can hit hard. That’s either when transacting with crypto or at the pump. Between the two, you have probably experienced one or both at some point in the past months. So, what’s the connection between fossil fuels and crypto? That brings us to the art of crypto mining, where supercomputers receive their power from natural gas.
A quick refresh, natural gas is a fossil fuel formed from various microorganisms that lived millions of years ago. These plants and animals became fossilized and turned into hydrocarbons that make up natural gas.
Natural gas is the cleanest among fossil fuels compared to petroleum and coal. Its main uses have been for electricity, heating, and transportation.
Methane is the main component that makes up natural gas. It originates as a natural byproduct at natural gas sites. Usually, this methane is captured and sent to different locations via a pipeline that handles that processing aspect. In this case, and typically at older oil well sites, often that is not an option, and the gas must then get capped. Other common uses for this capped methane gas have been refining and storing it as landfill gas (LFG) or renewable natural gas (RNG). Mining for crypto takes things to the next level.
In a nutshell, the companies involved utilized methane gas to power generators that provide the electricity needed to run supercomputers.
These computers are necessary to mine crypto and take a lot of energy to facilitate mining. Using this energy source can help the environment and help protect our ozone. And with electricity being one of the highest costs when mining, this is a significant advantage if there is near free, unused energy to take advantage of. In addition to powering the computers that use a lot of data, it also uses that power to run components used in cooling the equipment.
The department is now scrambling to regulate this process and has asked operators to wait until new measures get implemented. The main worries are fire hazards when dealing with these volatile gases. Jenni Hall, the Adams County director of community and economic development, said. “We know that generators produce fumes, produce noise. We want to make sure that we calibrate the levels appropriately.”
Crypto mining at natural gas sites isn’t necessarily new; this has been happening all over the country for some time. Hall stated, “We are going to be in the process over the next few months of really looking into best practices of communities that have already dealt with this.” Once these measures are in place, the companies can return to mining.