Unlike traditional mining, cryptocurrency mining doesn’t involve digging huge pits in the ground to remove valuable minerals or other geological materials from the Earth. But that doesn’t mean there’s no environmental impact. Far from it, in fact. While there’s no definitive number that’s been agreed upon, the mining of cryptocurrencies such as Bitcoin consumes a considerable amount of energy — possibly even as much as a country the size of Ireland. Could a new sustainable approach help?
With such an eco-friendly goal in mind, the company Soluna Technologies has announced that it is currently developing a $2 billion, 900MW wind farm power plant in one of the windiest regions of Morocco to help power the blockchain in a more eco-friendly and sustainable way. The broad stretch of land will produce power for carrying out high-density computing tasks — including the aforementioned cryptocurrency mining, along with distributed graphics rendering, file storage, and machine learning computation. This has the potential to be one of the world’s largest off-grid cryptocurrency mining operations.
“Our flagship location in Dakhla, Morocco is better known as the ‘Kitesurfing Capital of the World,’” John Belizaire, CEO of Soluna, told Digital Trends. “Wind travels at over 23 miles per hour for most the year, making the region one of the best wind locations. Our site is very flat, with no sand dunes, and therefore not much in the way of dust or sandstorms. It is twice the size of Manhattan, or 37,000 acres, across sixty miles.”
According to Belizaire, Soluna aims to be the world’s first vertically-integrated blockchain computing company powered by its own green power. This will set it in stark contrast to cryptocurrency miners who have turned to inexpensive but environmentally damaging fossil fuels to power their coin-gathering ambitions.
“Our current plan is to start construction of phase one in early 2019 and complete in early-to-mid 2020,” he continued. “We have started soliciting bids from some of the best turbines makers. They are all excited by the prospects of this project.”
Will Soluna’s ambitions become a reality? We certainly hope so, especially since a demonstration of sustainable innovation in this area should lead others to follow the company’s example.