Marathon Digital Starts Methane Gas-powered BTC Mining Project
The company announced on Thursday in a press release that it had entered into an agreement with Nodal Power, a renewable energy asset company, to launch a 280 kilowatt mining project exclusively powered by methane gas. The project is part of a broader initiative being conducted by Marathon Digital to test its ability to capture landfill-emitted methane, convert it into electricity, and then use that electricity to power Bitcoin miners.
In the release, Marathon Chairman and CEO Fred Thiel emphasized the multitude of benefits that would come from figuring out how to harness methane, a highly harmful gas.
“At Marathon, we are constantly seeking innovative ways to diversify our operations, lower our energy costs, and leverage the unique aspects of Bitcoin mining to better the environments in which we operate,” Thiel said. “By capturing the methane emitted from landfills and converting it into electricity to power our Bitcoin miners, we may have an opportunity to accomplish all of those goals simultaneously.”
He added that if the results of the pilot project met Marathon’s expectations, they would eagerly look to expand their footprint in this area and assist landfill operators in meeting their environmental goals.
According to the United Nations Environment Programme, methane gas is 80 times more harmful than carbon dioxide, and its effects persist for over 20 years after it is released into the environment. Additionally, data from the Environmental Protection Agency indicates that solid waste emissions accounted for almost 15% of all emissions of methane in the US in 2021.
“The methane naturally produced from landfills, biowaste, and elsewhere is often stranded, and Bitcoin miners like Marathon are uniquely positioned to help convert this harmful gas into a productive source of clean, renewable energy,” Thiel concluded.
Given that generating electricity is one of the biggest costs for miners, mining companies have previously explored alternative sources of electricity generation in their efforts to address issues related to greenhouse emissions.
In April last year, BTC miner Crusoe Energy raised $350 million to go towards setting up remote facilities that can harness otherwise wasted natural gas to power mining operations. Four months later, renewable energy company Vespene Energy closed a $4.3 million capital round to convert landfill methane into Bitcoin.
Marathon recently announced plans to raise up to $750 million through a hybrid equity offering, per a FORM S-3 sent to the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission. The company plans to use the funds for investments in new mining equipment and expanding its operational capacity.