Two 23-year-old Texans made $4 million from mining Bitcoin in 2021
Two 23-year-old Texans, an engineer, and a finance major, from Texas A&M University, made $4 million last year from Bitcoin mining using the power supplied by the flare gas from oil fields.
Earning large amounts of money from mining cryptocurrencies is no surprise but cryptocurrency mining is an extremely energy-consuming process. Bitcoin mining consumes more than 125 terawatt-hours a year, more than all of Argentina’s annual consumption, according to a University of Cambridge analysis.
But the duo has managed to power their operation with flare gas from oil fields.
Flare gas is burned by oil drillers when they hit a natural gas formation while drilling for oil. If the drilling site is close to a pipeline they obviously sell the gas, but if not they would need to lay pipelines to deliver the gas and that is expensive. So the drillers usually burn or flare the gas instead of investing in a pipeline. This is why there usually are flames on oil fields.
Upon noticing this immense loss of energy, Brent Whitehead, an engineer from a family of oil and gas producers, and Matt Lohstroh, a finance major and a Bitcoin enthusiast, combined their wealth, accumulated from lawn care and landscaping, and co-founded Giga Energy Solutions.
The company places its mining rigs, which are in a shipping container, on an oil well and then divert the natural gas into generators to power their mining rigs.
Giga, despite being a young company, has 11 employees and already signed deals with over 20 oil and gas companies, and is in talks with sovereign wealth funds.
They also reduce emissions of oil fields by 63 percent
The Texan partners reduce the CO2-equivalent emissions by about 63 percent compared to continued flaring with their idea, according to research from Denver-based Crusoe Energy Systems.
“Growing up, I always saw flares, just being in the oil and gas industry. I knew how wasteful it was,” Whitehead told CNBC and added, “It’s a new way to not only lower emissions but to monetize gas.”
The president of the Texas Blockchain Council, Lee Bratcher said, “They are making their clients revenue through stranded energy bitcoin mining and solving the environmental challenge with flared gas at the same time,”
A young engineer called Robert Sansone won the first prize, and winnings of $75,000, at this year's Regeneron International Science and Engineering Fair (ISEF), the world's largest international high school STEM competition.