A new documentary – ‘The Bitcoin Farmer’ – was released online telling the story of how Armagh Farmer Tom Campbell created the world’s first Bitcoin mine powered by biogas in partnership with Cork startup Scilling Digital Mining.
Campbell runs a renewable energy project on his farm in Lurgan with an anaerobic digestion (AD) plant on site where agricultural waste is converted into biogas in order to produce electricity to export back to the national grid. A key challenge for the renewable energy sector in Ireland and the UK however, is the issue of “stranded electricity” whereby there are limitations on the amount of electricity that can be exported to the national infrastructure.
The Bitcoin Farmer, World’s First Bitcoin Mine Powered by Biogas
The short film outlines how Campbell partnered with Scilling Digital Mining, a Cork based start-up, to create a new income stream by putting the “stranded electricity” to use to power Scilling’s customised containers on his farm and generate bitcoin in a sustainable fashion.
The documentary also interviews Mark Morton and Stewart Hosford, founders of Scilling Digital Mining. Mark, a 24 year old Financial Maths graduate, decided to start this Bitcoin mining business instead of pursuing a career as an actuary. Stewart is a trained economist with more than two decades of experience spanning finance, consulting and investment. Stewart has also held executive roles in EY, RBS and a number of sports companies. They are both passionate about using Bitcoin as a ‘tool’ to solve problems including the global transition to renewable energies.
A wider context of this documentary is Ireland’s desire to reduce agricultural methane emissions while transitioning to renewable energy sources and a circular economy. The reduction of methane emissions has been described by the UN’s Environmental Programme as the country’s strongest lever to stop climate change, as methane is over 20 times more harmful in the atmosphere than C02. The wide scale roll out of AD facilities is an optimal way for Ireland to achieve this.
When setting up AD facilities, there are a number of obstacles farmers need to overcome. They require large capital expenditure, and due to grid limitations there can be considerable delay in connecting the electricity generated to the national grid. Bitcoin mining, as a location agnostic open source technology, can be used to provide a constant revenue stream. This revenue can make the difference between having a new facility built or not.
‘The Bitcoin Farmer’ is a must watch for those interested in innovative solutions in the renewables industry and methane reduction happening in Ireland. It will be available to stream from March 27th at https://www.scillingmining.com/.
See more breaking stories here.