Posted 11 months ago | by Brian Garcia
President of El Salvador, Nayib Bukele, is proposing harnessing the geothermal power of volcanoes to mine Bitcoin in his country. Believe it or not, this idea isn’t just to make the news of El Salvador using Bitcoin as legal tender even more explosive than it already has been; it’s a truly sustainable energy source that El Salvador already uses, and it may be the key to unlocking a green future for Bitcoin. We’ll see what this means for Bitcoin and El Salvador when it comes to looking at using geothermal energy and how this green energy source can be used to mine.Read More
Bitcoin Mining With Geothermal Energy
Bitcoin Green Energy is a hot topic right now, especially when it comes to crypto assets. It’s no secret that I believe crypto has been unfairly targeted, and really isn’t the planet polluter some would want you to believe it is, but since at the very core of crypto is the idea of freedom, autonomy, and a better world, why not look at ways to keep our air and our oceans cleaner, and our hippies happier. Geothermal energy to mine bitcoin is the newest idea coming out of El Salvador, and you’ve got to admit they’ve had some pretty good ideas lately! So let’s get into the not-so-dirty details.
La Geo is a Salvadorian state-owned geothermal company that was incorporated in nineteen ninety-three, and right now it generates twenty-three percent of the electricity consumed in El Salvador. There are three methods of extracting heat energy from the Earth’s crust. This geothermal energy plant in El Salvador uses binary cycle stations. This means that by using Geothermal power, wells dug into the earth can pull liquid with a lower boiling point than water and pass it through hot geothermal water underground. The liquid turns to steam, which rushes through the pipes and drives turbines. That energy passes through a generator, which ultimately turns hot steam energy into electricity.
Bitcoin mining with green energy has become more of a reality in El Salvador considering they have plenty of geothermal water from its proximity to the ring of fire. There are twenty potentially active volcanoes in El Salvador to leverage this power. This gives El Salvador a lot of opportunities to harness the power of geothermal energy. President Bukele tweeted that a brand new geothermal well was already dug to provide ninety-five Megawatts of clean energy, as he plans to build a bitcoin mining hub nearby. Incredible to see this nation mine crypto using geothermal energy. Here’s a video tweeted of water vapor gushing out at incredible force:
Our engineers just informed me that they dug a new well, that will provide approximately 95MW of 100% clean, 0 emissions geothermal energy from our volcanos
Starting to design a full #Bitcoin mining hub around it.
What you see coming out of the well is pure water vapor 🇸🇻 pic.twitter.com/SVph4BEW1L
— Nayib Bukele 🇸🇻 (@nayibbukele) June 9, 2021
There’s no doubt that after seeing this, there is enough steam there to spin a turbine or two. I guess Johnny Cash wasn’t kidding; there is definitely something burning in the ring of fire: and right now it’s looking like clean, “Digital Gold” mining power.
With computing devices used for the sole purpose of mining Bitcoin, how many Application Specific Integrated Circuit (ASIC) miners could be supported by a Geothermal mining site? How much energy can be produced with Geothermal? How does Geothermal energy measure up to wind and solar?
Renewable energy isn’t new for El Salvador and they’re well-versed in all kinds of renewable energy sources. In 2007, the Salvadoran government passed a decree that allow tax incentives and breaks for companies that develop renewable energy. Tropical El Salvador gets a lot of solar radiation, and solar panels are installed on government buildings, schools, and universities. In total, the 14 solar energy systems in El Salvador have an installed capacity of 344 Megawatts.
In fact, El Salvador’s geographic location creates many opportunities for renewable energy: Wind, solar, hydroelectric, and geothermal. High winds coming off the Pacific Ocean power wind farms, high amounts of heat, and sunlight create abundant solar energy, hydroelectric energy is generated from the Lempa River, and of course, geothermal energy is harnessed from the proximity to volcanoes.
If El Salvador is such a green energy all-star, why is Geothermal the winning bet for sustainable Bitcoin mining? Even Though solar energy actually produces more electricity for El Salvador than its volcanoes and geothermal energy, it’s how compact geothermal plants are that makes it a great solution for green energy Bitcoin mining. A wind farm would have to be three times as big as a geothermal plant to generate the same amount of energy, and a solar energy plant would have to be 8 times as big. Another factor is that wind and solar have unpredictable energy output levels because they don’t produce when the wind isn’t blowing and the sun isn’t shining. Geothermal power is simply one of the most green energy ways to mine Bitcoin.
Bitcoin Energy Consumption
Bitcoin energy consumption can add up when one Bitcoin mining ASIC requires 72,000 gigawatts to mine one bitcoin. Although it’s not as easy as saying each ASIC uses this much energy when mining Bitcoin is actually a competition between miners or a collaboration between miners in a mining pool.
One Bitcoin block is mined every ten minutes, and each block gets a mining reward of 6.5 Bitcoins. One hundred and forty-four blocks are mined every day, but miners compete to solve these blocks. Only the winner gets the reward, and the odds of winning are actually very low. This is why miners create mining pools, so they can share the profit relative to their hash rate. Hash rate is the processing power a miner is contributing to the network. If they contributed a one percent hash rate, they get one percent of the reward.
A good-sized Bitcoin mining operation would have hundreds to a thousand ASIC microprocessors. For Bitcoin miners, Each ASIC draws seventy-two kilowatts per day; Multiply that by a thousand, and the Salvadoran Bitcoin mining operation would need about 72,000 kilowatts of energy every day to support it. The geothermal well that has been dug in El Salvador for this project was said by President Bukele to have a capacity of ninety-five megawatts or nine thousand five hundred kilowatts; which is more than enough to support the Salvadoran mining operation needing three thousand kilowatts per hour. The compact size of the geothermal power plant and its capacity to generate enough electricity means that the bitcoin mining facility can be built half a mile away.
Bitcoin mining combined with electrical engineering? Amazing to see how far we’ve come. This especially is great news considering not too long ago Venezuela legalized crypto mining within the country.
El Salvador and Bitcoin
It’s certainly going to be a major undertaking for El Salvador not only to use Bitcoin for legal tender but also to mine it in a sustainable way using the awesome power of volcanoes. Looking at all the facts, it seems absolutely possible that El Salvador can and will do this, and that geothermal power is the way to do it. President Bukele’s passion in wanting to make Bitcoin happen in a big way for El Salvador is sure to push progress along. He was asked if Bitcoin can be mined in a sustainable way, and engineers dug a new geothermal well and plans started immediately to build a power facility just for Bitcoin mining. Explosive volcanic energy and powerful sentiment by the president and the people are sure to be a recipe for success, and we can’t wait to see how the progress unfolds for El Salvador and for Bitcoin.