a neat trick to reduce energy cost for miners (and car drivers)

in #mining4 years ago (edited)

I don't know if any coin miners have tried this yet, but it should be quite easy to recycle alot of the energy in the heat generated by mining rigs, turning it back into electricity. It could be simply done using a stirling engine, an engine design that uses an external heat source instead of internal combustion. As long as there is a differential between the hot side and the cold side of the engine, the piston will be driven up and down by the moving air within the cylinder. The cold side will need some kind of cooling in place to stop the gradient flattening out... google it if you haven't seen one before, they're quite interesting machines...

A small home made one can run just from the heat of a cup of coffee, so I don't imagine a large mining rig would have any trouble driving one. There's a nice simple to make one that was designed by NASA, which has a rubber membrane that vibrates when it's heated. A powerful neodimium magnet attached to the membrane and surrounded by a coil can turn that motion back into electrical power.

(by the way, this guy has some awesome stuff on his channel, well worth a browse...)

Larger commercial ones exist, some being used in domestic gas fired, combined heat and power boilers that produce electricity as they heat water, ranging from 1 to 5 kw if i remember rightly. There must be a few old ones floating around that could be reused in a mining setup. Perhaps the best way would be to combine it with an atmospheric sourced heatpump that extracts, compresses, and focuses the heat from an industrial scale mining facility onto the engine.

If you can get some free energy to mine with, by converting your waste heat back into usable power, and then re-using it, that's got to be a good thing right? If i was mining i know i would want to at least have a go. If anyone actually reads this and is inspired to give it a try, please let me know how it goes for you... Or, if you know someone who has already tried it I would love to know. It would be interesting to find out how much power can actually be reclaimed with this method...

While i'm on the subject, it might also be useful to attach one to a car radiator and use it to power a water electrolysis HHO gas unit, rather than trying the usual method of using the cars battery, which puts an extra load on the engine via the alternator, and so uses extra petrol to drive the gas generator which is intended to reduce petrol consumption. After all most of the energy from the petrol is radiated out as waste heat instead of actually driving the car forward. If that heat can be recycled it must surely be a good idea to give it a go...

please resteem this if you read it and and think it could work. i'm new here so not many people are seeing the post... any discussion would be welcome.

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Interesting Idea! For me personally, mining by myself is too risky, I rather leave it to the professionals and invest in cloud mining: https://steemit.com/bitcoin/@predprey/is-it-too-late-to-mine-bitcoins-now

Solo mining is indeed difficult. You might find it easier if you have the right kind of video card (GPU) in your system to instead gain a little extra income with 'pool' mining. NiceHash is a great place to start.

As to the Stirling engine, I am fairly sure that the units large enough to generate 1-5kW are expensive and large. Keeping in mind that a single 6 video card rig can along pull more than 1kW on it's own. Any decent sized Bitcoin mine using ASIC's is going to be measuring their power draw in the range of 200-1000kW (1MW). A couple of decent sized wind-farms might be a better method. There is also the really large Bitcoin mine in Iceland using geothermal power.

you may be right but the 1kw engines are small enough to fit in a standard sized household boiler. i haven't looked into larger models, not sure if anyone makes them. but someone should. any large industrial computer processing farm must produce an enormous amount of waste heat over its lifetime. there's so much heat energy being dumped that could be re-cycled i'm sure a producer of larger stirlings could find a market for them if they tried... we recycle everything else these days, why not energy?

if the iceland farm wanted to expand using this method they could do so without paying for more energy from the geothermal producer. the cold conditions there would make it way cheaper to cool the cold side of the stirling too so increase the efficiency of the system. if they're in his for the long haul, and are making enough money, i really think it could work for them... but who knows...

sorry to drag you back to the idea, being a noob here my post has not had many views so there's no-one else to discuss it with...
was just thinking about it again, and in reference to the 1MW that you say a large mining farm might draw, if you bear in mind that stirling engine efficiency seems to range from 10 to 30%, that might result in 100 to 300kW of power that the mine could re-use or sell back to the grid to reduce their costs... if they just pumped all the heat to a stirling instead of simply venting the hot air...
but anyway... I'll shut up about it now.. hopefully someday someone will see this and take the idea further..

i wouldn't know where to start with mining myself, not my skillset at all... prefer to get my btc playing poker and trading alts... all good fun... thanks for the upvote... would love to know if this could be made to work. seems like it should be possible...