The limited narrative of naysayers loves to view the Bitcoin network as an inexhaustible drain on electricity at the direct expense of the environment. Reality, however, has been painting a drastically different picture.
Over the past few weeks, the Asic Jungle team have been getting in touch with innovators in the Bitcoin mining space. What we have observed is a collective emergence of novel businesses applying ASICs as ideal load management devices for balancing energy demand and reducing non-renewable fuel consumption for energy production.
Bitcoin mining is a small, but key part of the operations of these businesses. As it turns out, we are witnessing a wave of energy companies using Bitcoin mining as the combined most profitable and ethical modus operandi for building innovative energy infrastructure. From the bottom up, energy best practices are being upended by the Bitcoin mining network.
In our latest interview, heat recovery became the center of the discussion with our guest, Jelmer ten Wolde, CEO of Greentech Technologies. Jelmer and his team are, in essence, an immersion cooling technology company, specializing in heat recovery. Rooted in the relatively advanced agribusiness industry of the Netherlands, with a headquarter in Switzerland, their solutions optimize energy efficiency for industrial-scale processes.
Greentech’s customers diversify their revenue streams, improve their bottom line, and often register zero dependence on grid electricity. Integral to their success has been their application of immersion cooling to recover an impressive 97% of the heat produced by their GREENBOX data centers. Here is what we learned from our time with Jelmer.
The Beginning of Greentech Technologies
As Jelmer explained, the company started with the question, “how can we bring heat from Bitcoin mining to greenhouses?”. This idea has ultimately led to the development of Greentech’s niche product and service offering that meets the heating needs of industrial-sized facilities, reduces carbon emissions, and provides additional streams of revenue. Their flagship product, the GREENBOX, is registering a reduced dependence on fossil fuel of 30-40% for their existing clients.
Immersion Cooling and the Need for a Bespoke Product
The company quickly realized that immersion cooling was the best way to optimize the rate of heat recovery from their data centers, but were having trouble finding vendors who could provide adequate products to meet their needs. As Jelmer noted, “We tested multiple vendors but none had experience in heat recovery. The market was very niche when we started ''.
“Many minor problems started to add up, which lead us to the decision to create a bespoke product.” —Jelmer
Jelmer shared his observation that many competitors are coming into the space now, but none have been compelling from their perspective. He also noted that, in their experience, “once you’re dealing with projects that are 20 MW/h or larger, then you have the incentive and experience to delve into customized work”.
On-Site Services and Niche Expertise
We were curious how “hands on” the Greentech team needed to be to deliver their service. According to Jelmer, the company provides on-site work, although most of the work is remote after the implementation stage. “Immersion technology does not have many issues, while also being very niche”, he added.
He also stated that, “many immersion cooling producers do not operate their own products; they only design and sell them”. Jelmer saw a need to offer a full service around their product, including design, sale, and maintenance.
The company's vision required a combination of in-house engineers, market experience, and leveraging a few strategic partners. Jelmer emphasized that, “we have a unique depth and breadth in our network and experience in this industry. Our CTO has a lot of experience with generator sets (referred to as “gensets”) and general heat production, too.”
The company works with mission-critical systems, which Jelmer notes, “is not easy”.
Cogeneration and the GREENBOX
The company implements existing CHP gensets, known as cogeneration, where it's practical. For example, with a 2MW conventional genset and a 2MW GREENBOX, their clients can maintain their operations while earning 40 EURO per MW/h produced and register zero electricity usage from the grid.
Cogeneration is the practice of using an on-site power station to generate electricity and produce useful heat simultaneously. For many industrial sized facilities, like commercial greenhouses, traditional cogeneration has been a standard practice for their substantial energy needs. Drawing this much energy from the grid, for example, would quickly become cost-prohibitive.
Greentech Technology’s GREENBOX is a tool to make the most of the electricity output of on-site cogeneration gensets. A greenhouse, for example, demands varying amounts of heat and electricity, depending on daily demand cycles, their overall rate of production, and the cost of electricity. The GREENBOX is a means to monetize excess electricity output while recovering heat produced by the GREENBOX itself.
From listening to Jelmer, it seems that the beauty of the GREENBOX is how it effectively transforms Greentech’s clients into increasingly self-sufficient energy systems. Fossil fuel use is reduced, energy efficiency is increased, and reliance on external grids are curtailed all while improving their bottom line. Greentech’s clients appear to become their own form of sophisticated microgrid operators.
Bitcoin’s price and overclocking with immersion tech
When asked about the role of Bitcoin’s price in their business, Jelmer shared the following, “In a bull market, the company essentially produces free heat. In a bear market, the cost of capital is high, making it more challenging to sell products.” He also added that using immersion technology for their data centers is a great asset during bull markets. Immersion tech greatly improves the ability to overlock ASICs without damaging them, meaning you can run them constantly to sell high-priced Bitcoin.
When asked whether the next Bitcoin halving will impact their business, he responded, “We foresee the technology for ASICs changing, but feel well-positioned to capitalize. We will use conventional data centers, if necessary.”
Why not use conventional data centers?
Using conventional data centers (those that don't mine Bitcoin) is an option that Jelmer and his team continue to explore. However, Jelmer mentions that the simplicity, freedom, and adaptability of using Bitcoin ASICs is hard to beat.
He explained that conventional data centers are much more complex to operationalize. “You need to find your own customers instead of being an energy company. There are uptime requirements, for example”. In contrast, Bitcoin has no uptime requirements and is a highly liquid market. Jelmer adds, “Bitcoin miners are much more dynamic load management systems. They’re plug and play and you can augment your usage without penalties. There is much more freedom to operate.”
From Start to Finish
If your company wants to get started with Greentech’s GREENBOX, how long would it take to start production? According to Jelmer, the process takes between 12 and 16 weeks from analysis to final production and implementation, assuming earnest collaboration from the client. We were surprised at how quick the process is, to which Jelmer responded, “We are good at what we do".
Bitcoin mining success through forward-thinking approaches
We were impressed by what Jelmer and the Greentech team has accomplished, so we asked how others can get started. Jelmer’s response was enlightening. He started by saying that, “Our market is very competitive now. With the many stakeholders, it’s not an easy market. It’s not easy to duplicate what we do”. He then left a hint, stating that, “the market for optimizing intermittent renewable energy has a lot of room to grow.”
Obtaining the most powerful ASICs at the best prices is a key factor that can dictate the success of your business. Asic Jungle is a leading player in the mining hardware procurement space, having helped hundreds of customers secure the mining rigs they need to meet their goals. Get in touch with the Asic Jungle team today.