As concerns about Bitcoin’s energy use develop, a range of alternative solutions have been proposed. The use of flared natural gas has been proposed as a potential solution to the high pollution emitted by Bitcoin mining farms.
Bitcoin fell to a low of $42,200 this week, fuelled by Elon Musk’s tweet announcing that Tesla will no longer accept Bitcoin as payment. Although Musk later clarified that Tesla had no intention to sell their Bitcoin, his remarks came after the billionaire announced that he would no longer support coal-fired energy.
Flared natural gas, also known as a flare stack, is the regulated combustion of natural gas that may provide a viable alternative to coal-fired electricity. Oil companies flare natural gas because they cannot create a pipeline or process the natural gas. In other words, a flare stack is a source of “wasted energy.”
According to the International Energy Agency, flared natural gas emitted the same amount of CO2 as Italy in 2019. Rather than using high-carbon energy sources, some cryptocurrency experts have proposed using flared natural gas to power Bitcoin mining, allowing oil producers to benefit from otherwise wasted gas.
Giga Energy Solutions co-founder Matt Lohstroh commented on his company’s groundbreaking crypto mining solutions:
“We come in; they’re making zero for their gas, we say, hey, we’ll come in take the gas off your hands, give you a little something. We’ll be able to reduce your emissions you’re putting out, combust it, create economic value on our end.”
Diverting flared gas to cryptocurrency mining might be an excellent way to repurpose wasted oil, but the actual effect on emissions might not be important. Nonetheless, customers are increasingly demanding that the energy generated by coal mining be reduced.
Some green Bitcoin alternatives have appeared in recent months, fueling market demand for renewable energy from environmentally conscious consumers.