What do Bitcoin Mining and Data Centers have in Common?
Bitcoin mining and traditional data centers are two highly centralized, energy-intensive industries. They both rely on massive amounts of electricity to run their systems, and they both have huge opportunities to curb their energy usage through demand response programs. In the following post I’ll explain how the two industries are similar, why they can benefit from each other, and what kind of impact this could have on the future of cryptocurrency mining.
Traditional Data Centers
Traditional data centers use an enormous amount of energy. The massive amounts of power needed to run a traditional data center are highly inefficient, expensive, and not environmentally friendly.
Data center servers are constantly being upgraded, which adds to the cost of electricity because they require more energy than older servers. Even though the cost per kilowatt hour of electricity has been decreasing over time, it still remains very high in many parts of the world. Additionally, there are several other costs involved in running a traditional data center. These include the cost of cooling systems and other utilities required to keep servers from overheating. It is estimated that as much as 50% of the total energy used by modern data centers goes toward cooling alone.6
Both traditional data centers and Bitcoin Mining represent a massive opportunity for curtailment, energy efficiency, and demand response.
Both traditional data centers and bitcoin mining represent a considerable opportunity for curtailment, energy efficiency, and demand response. Here is an example of how they can apply to real-life circumstances.
Both processes consume an exorbitant amount of energy to produce relatively little value for the local economy in terms of Job Creation or boosting other businesses. For example, If Amazon decides to build a Distribution center in a region, it would result in hundreds if not thousands of local jobs; not only would Amazon create those jobs, but hundreds of other local businesses would benefit. On the other hand, Data Centers are typically lights-out buildings filled with servers, consuming the region’s resources and not adding any real value to the economy around them. Don’t get me wrong, Amazon has Data Centers that are lights out, creating no more than 1-2-3-4 jobs, But they usually pair those facility locations with Distribution Centers in the region. So, other than fantastic tax revenue for schools, roads, first responders, etc. (I say that sarcastically because those are huge wins that the general public doesn’t acknowledge), Traditional Data Centers and or Bitcoin mining Centers don’t add much real value after the construction is built (note* contractors, vendors, millions spent in local buildout).
Do Traditional Data Centers have a low or High Carbon Footprint?
YES! For Example, Amazon’s data centers are built with a standard design, with the goal of having them run as efficiently as possible. This process uses lots of water-cooled air conditioning units that remove heat from the building and distribute it outside, creating a massive carbon footprint and blowing all of that waste heat into the atmosphere. Amazon has also been working on building out renewable energy sources at its data centers, which will help put less strain on the grid by creating their own power.
HOWEVER, Bitcoin Mining Data Centers solve these problems right here and now! Bitcoin Data Centers focus solely on using renewables and have the ability to curtail energy use during high peak demand, giving the energy back to the grid and, in return, can use the otherwise wasted energy during low demand. But Bitcoin Mining doesn’t provide same-day shipping to all of our favorite consumer goods. But you can pay for those goods and same-day shipping with bitcoin… I like to think both data centers can learn and benefit from each other.
SO. What can Data center operators learn from bitcoin miners about how to be more efficient with their electricity consumption?
-Use the same ASICs to make mining more efficient. You could have a data center with thousands of servers in it, but if the servers are all different and don’t use the same chipsets/CPUs, you’re wasting lots of electricity and money. The same goes for cooling systems: If you have multiple buildings that are miles apart from one another, then it’s not efficient to cool each building independently. But what if we solved some of those problems? What if we could shrink the equipment’s size in a data center? What if we could make it so that one set of ASICs could be used for all kinds of different applications in your data center? Or Simply use Biodegradable Immersion Cooling.
Immersion Cooling, The Next Step?
Immersion cooling is the next step in the future of data center cooling. It’s been around for a while, but it’s only recently becoming more popular as companies like Google and Facebook adopt it into their data centers. Immersion cooling, also known as water-side economization, uses water instead of air to cool down your servers.
Can we transfer the waste heat from Immersion Cooling?
Immersion cooling is a lot like traditional air-side economization, where the heat generated by your servers is transferred to a coolant that runs through pipes in your data center. The coolant then goes through an external system (such as a chiller or heat exchanger), which uses it to create cold water for use in refrigeration systems and air conditioning units, Thus, drastically reducing carbon footprint. Immersion cooling differs from traditional air-side economization because it uses water instead of air as the medium for transferring heat away from machines.
We want to take the best technology from both traditional data centers and the new advancements of Bitcoin Mining and merge them together. We are building out the very first Bitcoin Mining and Greenhouse Agro-Tech Operation. We aim to create year-round agriculture jobs, provide local food sustainability, and positively impact the energy grid, reducing carbon footprint.
Traditional data centers have paved the way for web 1.0 and 2.0; now that Web 3.0 is here, Bitcoin mining data centers are creating new technology to better the energy grid and create more renewables by leveraging all those green electrons they didn’t use before
I feel the two industries are now merging into one. Working together, we can solve worthy problems for the next generation.