- Bitcoin miner Marathon Digital (MARA) launched a pilot Bitcoin mining project in Utah
- The mining project focuses on using methane gas generated from landfill waste for the mining operations.
Marathon Digital (MARA), a bitcoin miner, has launched a trial mining plant in Utah that uses methane gas generated from landfill waste to create electricity to power mining operations.
The miner collaborated with Nodal Power, a company that develops and operates renewable energy assets, for the 280 kilowatt (kW) test project, according to a statement. Marathon may extend its methane-powered operations if the test project satisfies its objectives, according to the statement.
“Marathon’s pilot project is part of a broader initiative being conducted by the Company to validate its ability to capture methane emitted from landfills, convert it into electricity, and then use that electricity to power Bitcoin miners,” the company said in a press release.
This isn’t the first time a mining company has considered generating power – a miner’s main cost – from a non-traditional source in order to reduce greenhouse-gas emissions.
Vespene Energy, a firm, announced last year that it had raised financing to mine bitcoin using a similar energy source. Other miners, like Crusoe Energy, have established distant facilities to use otherwise wasted natural gas to power mining operations. In the process, they have reduced the amount of methane gas, the most abundant component of natural gas, that is emitted into the environment.
“The methane naturally produced from landfills, biowaste, and elsewhere is often stranded, and Bitcoin miners like Marathon are uniquely positioned to help convert this harmful gas into a productive source of clean, renewable energy,” Fred Thiel, the chairman and chief executive officer of Marathon, stated.
According to the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP), methane gas is 80 times more hazardous than carbon dioxide for the first 20 years after it is discharged into the environment. Meanwhile, according to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), municipal solid waste emissions will account for 14.3% of total methane emissions in the United States in 2021.
“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,” Thiel said in a statement.