Tire Pyrolysis Gas Powers Cryptocurrency Mine
Thermal Demanufacturing creates energy which is used in Franklinton NC server farm
North Carolina-based Product Recovery Technology International (PRTI), processes scrap tires at its site in Franklinton north of Raleigh, to create oil, syngas, carbon char, and steel. It is then using the gas to generate electricity to power bitcoin mining in its on-site office. The process is scalable, the energy could be used for other purposes, and the company is planning to roll it out in other sites including Europe, according to company CEO Chris Hare.
PRTI uses a thermal manufacturing process invented in Italy, which decomposes tires into oil, syngas, carbon char and steel. The company runs six demanufacturing cylinders at the Franklinton site, each of which can take up to 6,000lb of whole tires without the need for grinding or cutting. It takes about 11 hours to break the tires down to the useful components.
The cylinders operate entirely automatically to provide the right temperature for multiple kinds of tires, and the site can run with few staff. PRTI plans to run two loads per day through each of its six cylinders.
North Carolina granted PRTI a clean air permit in August 2020.
PRTI was founded in 2013, and has raised more than $10 million, with one of its investors being entrepreneur and cryptocurrency proponent Jason Williams, who was CEO of PRTI until last year before handing the reins over to serial entrepreneur Chris Hare. Both men have steered PRTI towards cryptocurrency as a way to use the energy generated, and the second floor of the PRTI office at Franklinton is now mostly given over to mining rigs.
“What’s interesting in crypto is it’s a way to monetize energy,” Hare told the Charlotte Observer in a recent interview.
Crypto mining requires huge amounts of computing power and continuously uses electricity. Miners use the computers to validate transactions of Bitcoins and earn new ones, but to do that, the computers must solve large math problems that only can be done by large computers.
In China, where most of this mining is done, Bitcoin mining is forecasted to generate 130.5 million metric tons of carbon emission by 2024, according to a recent study in the academic journal Nature Communications. Put another way, by 2024, Chinese Bitcoin energy consumption would exceed the total energy consumption of a country like Italy and exceed the greenhouse gas emissions of a country like Spain, Bloomberg News reported.
At PRTI’s Franklinton site, the second floor of the company’s office is mostly a server farm now. The computers create a low roaring noise, and the rooms they occupy are kept at much lower temperatures.
“Most of the big data centers in the crypto space are in low-ambient temperature areas, like Iceland or places that are very inexpensive from a power perspective,” Hare said. “North Carolina isn’t that. Doing what we are doing, where we are doing it, it is unusual.”
But it also works as a proving ground for PRTI. If it can find a cleaner and cheaper way to run a data center in the Southeast, then they believe more people might want to replicate its set up.
© Scrap Tire News, May 2021