Using excess tires and burning them to power graphics cards is an interesting business model, to say the least.
According to The Merkle, mining cryptocurrency has always been an interesting endeavor. Unfortunately, it requires a lot of things to work in one’s favor. Without access to cheap electricity or energy, the mining process can become pretty expensive and unprofitable for most. In the United States, Standard American Mining and PRTI are doing things very differently.
It is evident the concept of mining cryptocurrency goes well beyond Bitcoin itself. Throughout 2017, we have seen a massive increase in the popularity of GPU-based mining for such popular altcoins as Ethereum, Zcash, Monero, and a few others. Although it is not the most profitable business per se, there is some good money to be made with the right setup. It mainly comes down to using the cheapest source of electricity possible, which is much easier said than done for most people mining cryptocurrency at home.
This is why Standard American Mining and PRTI have teamed up to power an Ethereum mining operation in a different way. Instead of using electricity or renewable energy sources, they are using waste to mine cryptocurrency. More specifically, they heat used tires, which results in burnable fuel, steel, and carbon black. This burnable fuel can then be used to fuel turbines or even generate electricity. With this electricity, the companies can power their entire mining operation without too many problems. Considering that this process has been possible for quite some time now, it only makes sense to use the electricity to generate money on the side.
Burnable fuel is a rather underutilized energy source which isn’t accessible to most people or even companies right now. There have been efforts to power computers with burnable fuel in the past, and there have never been any major issues to speak of. However, using this method for cryptocurrency mining is something else entirely. Given the profitability of this process – depending on electricity costs and price volatility – it seems like a business venture worth exploring by these companies.
With this non-traditional and near-zero-cost energy source at their disposal, Standard American Mining and PRTI may have struck a proverbial vein. After all, once the cost of electricity is offset, there is a lot of good money to be made by mining Ethereum and other altcoins. Used tires are a massive contributor to waste piles, since no one knows for sure how they can be repurposed. The nasty chemicals spilled by these tires are quite worrisome, which means they often end up being buried in landfills, sadly.
At the same time, one has to acknowledge creating fuel from tires will emit more greenhouse gases compared to other renewable power sources. While it’s not an ideal situation, it still beats most alternatives. Moreover, these tire-derived fuels could also replace coal for cement plants, which would help reduce those facilities’ carbon emissions. It is evident that used tires are a problematic form of waste, but things are certainly heading in a promising direction thanks to ventures like these.
Whether or not these firms will make a lot of money from their Ethereum mining operation remains to be determined. The companies did not disclose how many GPUs they are using or what their total hashpower is right now. Any money coming in will be considered to be healthy profit, though, as all the electricity is generated on-site right now. It is an intriguing way to go about things, although it is not something every company will switch to moving forward.