Crypto Heating

Aquila Systems, November 2021

Crypto Mining actually creates two useful products,  crypto-currency and heat.

Most miners waste the heat created or even worse fight it by running their crypto-miners in air conditioned environments.

We do not advocate crypto-mining in any manner where the heat is not used for a useful purpose.    We call responsible mining crypto-heating and your miners crypto-heaters.  

We believe that most crypto-mining should only be done in the fall and winter where the heat generated can be made use of.

We also believe that mining in this manner is very much environmentally conscious and intended to counter climate change at least in a small way.    

Much of the world’s population outside of the tropics needs indoor heating to be comfortable particularly from local midnight to local noon during the fall and winter.    Currently most of the energy for heating is from fossil fuels (oil, propane, natural gas) and is generated in a centralized unit, boiler or furnace, in the building.    Many of these heating units are only about 80% efficient and many tend to be poorly balanced putting heat where it is not needed and giving too little in the area where some people work.    Electric space heating is by its nature 100% efficient and can easily be directed to where it is needed.    

Fossil fuels have been favored over electricity for decades as they tend to be about half the cost per BTU/hr of electric heat.    However this year the price of these fossil fuels has increased to near electricity especially if you include the inefficiencies, fuel delivery cost,  and heating system maintenance costs.     This is particularly true in Europe this winter.

In terms of climate change we are now only a few years away from being able to economically capture and sequester most of the carbon from coal and natural gas power plants over 5 megawatts in size.    However we will never be able to economically sequester the carbon coming from millions of small scale individual boilers and furnaces.    

In fact universal partial conversion to electric space heat and carbon sequestration at power plants as the primary way to provide indoor heating in temperate climates and is our best and easiest way to  reduce carbon output by more than 10% over the next few years.  It is shocking that this is not talked about more by environmental activists as it represents an economically realistic target.  

It does require natural gas and coal power plants to sequester their carbon output which will increase electricity costs by about 10% and many electric spaces heaters will have to be put in place by businesses and residence but these are inexpensive and last forever.    The macro-economics to encourage this could be worked out and be net zero (taxes==credits) if done right.    

I state above “partial conversion” as existing boiler/furnace will for many still be necessary in the early morning during winter and all day on the relatively few very cold winter days again in temperate climates.     However the reduced usage will extend the lifetime and reduce maintenance costs of the existing boilers and furnaces.     Even in Cold climates space heating has a place to provide balance although it will not substantially replace boilers and furnaces.

Lastly I will add that solar power can be used for the modest electric space heating needed during the afternoon that done right with electronic control will allow them to provide the needed afternoon heat at no energy cost on clear days.

Back to Crypto-Heating it is indeed very compatible with the idea of space heat for the environment as EVERY Crypto-mining rig is essentially a Crypto-Heater that pays you in Crypto for at least the electricity costs.    Some like the server type computers that the WIC Miner works on put out 100-200W of heat,  MultiGPU miners 200-800W, and ASIC Bitcoin miners 400-4500W.    As these Crypto-Heaters are also computers they can also control when they work based on time, indoor/outdoor temperature, cloud cover (solar power), motion detection (someone in room), etc.

To give you an idea of Crypto Heating potential based on some testing a 200W WIC Miner Crypto-Heater can maintain the temperature of a 300 square foot (28 sq meter) well insulated room with 2 outer walls at 68 degrees Fahrenheit (F) which is 20 Celcius (C) when the outdoor temperature averages 40 F (4.5C).    This compares to maintaining 62F (17C) under the same conditions with no Crypto-Heater running.    Many factors can affect the heating performance of any heater but this real world example demonstrates the possibility.

For your WIC Miner servers to be effective Crypto-Heaters you must either distribute the servers around your building as you would do with conventional electric space heaters or arrange to vent/move the heat put out by your racks of servers into areas where people work or meet.     Doing either can be challenging but will pay off in the long run.

Many companies for security reasons want all there servers in one room concentrating the heat generated and often requiring air conditioning even in winter.    This is an understandable practice but not very environmentally conscious.

Many small companies have realized this and the fact that physical security is not required for many servers and begun putting equipment racks in closets, store rooms, and basements and shutting off the HVAC system outflow to these areas during the fall and winter.    Allowing these areas to be heated by a small group of servers in that closet, basement, or room.    These servers could be setup with the WIC Miner using the timed operation mode so they only mine from midnight to mid-morning when the heat is most needed.      Another example of moving the heater is you may have employees that complain they are cold despite the room being at “a normal temperature” it may be wise to place select servers running the WIC Miner in these employees space or office essentially providing modest space heating at little net cost.

You may also have server type systems that are backups or not used any longer these now may have no other immediate purpose than providing free heat to an area.    If the data on drives concerns you just remove the drives and store them.   Then follow the procedure listed here to create a safe Live Linux USB boot and run the WIC Miner from this.    It only takes about ten minutes to do this and it can run all winter.

As I noted above the other alternative is to keep the servers where they are and move the heat.    For a small group of servers this could be as simple as installing a cage (linked wire) door for server room security and putting a fan at the door to distribute the heat down the hall and/or into adjacent rooms.    Your floor plan will dictate how effective this can be and to be effective more than one fan may be needed.    

The better way to move the heat is to have duct work and fans installed to move the heat from the server room into select other rooms where it can be useful.     These ducts do not have to be metal but can be the plastic flexible type like is used to vent bathrooms as it will not get too hot.

Duct work install will likely have considerable initial cost but will more than pay for itself in the long run as not only are you saving on the bill to heat a number of rooms you are also saving on the costs to air condition the server room during the day in the fall and winter.      Again I will note that depending on where you are geographically you may only need your servers mining at night and part of the day to produce enough heat using the timed operation mode of the WIC Miner.

To use this heat distribution method you will want to let your server room get to the low 80’s F (27-30C) as this is needed to create a productive heat at the far side of the air duct assuming modest air flow.     There is no harm in doing this as all modern computers are designed to operate at an ambient up to 90F (33C).     I do recommend though that you set your air conditioning to turn on at 85F (30C) to prevent runaway heating on warm days.    

Also on warm winter days check the room temperature in early afternoon and using the instructions here you can tell a WIC Miner to temporarily pause mining until 11PM when it will automatically restart.    

To automatically manage this heating we will be making available soon a USB room temperature/humidity monitor that can be easily setup to automatically control mining operation of multiple miners having the correct number of them mining to create a stable room temperature.