The City of North Vancouver is set to become the first city in the world to use bitcoin mining for building heating needs, specifically for the district energy utility.
According to a release, the city-owned Lonsdale Energy Corporation (LEC) has reached a deal with MintGreen, a Burnaby-based clean-tech crypto mining company, to use recovered heat electricity from bitcoin mining to help heat nearly 100 residential and commercial buildings connected to the district energy utility.
The company’s digital boilers recover over 96% of the electricity used for bitcoin mining in the form of heat energy that can be used to sustainably provide heating needs for buildings. These computer systems run at full capacity daily throughout the year.
The use of this low-carbon heat source for LEC will begin in 2022, and over the term of the partnership, it is expected to reduce 20,000 tonnes of greenhouse gas emissions from entering the atmosphere per megawatt compared to natural gas.
“Being partners with MintGreen on this project is very exciting for LEC, in that it’s an innovative and cost competitive project, and it reinforces the journey LEC is on to support the City’s ambitious greenhouse gas reduction targets,” said Karsten Veng, CEO of LEC, in a statement.
Already, 97% of BC Hydro’s electricity supply comes from hydroelectric sources. By using this energy twice for both bitcoin mining and heating needs, it eliminates waste and makes this project one of the greenest in the space. This pilot project could be further expanded in the future.
LEC has six miniature energy plants serving customers in Lower Lonsdale, Central Lonsdale, and Marine Harbourside areas. They currently use a combination of high efficiency natural gas boilers, ground source heat pumps, heat recovery from building cooling, and solar thermal panels to heat hot water.
At the moment, about 7.47 million sq ft of building area depends on LEC for heating needs, including nearly 6,500 homes, a 106-room hotel, numerous offices and commercial retail outlets, and various civic buildings. Additionally, it provides cooling services to five buildings and the new covered outdoor ice rink at The Shipyards.