Hydro mining is a general term which refers to the use of hydraulic power in the cryptocurrency mining process. It is generally considered to be related to green energy by attempting to leverage a natural energy source for the process of Bitcoin or altcoin proof of work mining.
As we know from the concept of PoW, mining can be energy intensive and many have criticized the mining process due to its apparent energy inefficiency, especially in an age where conservation and environmental concerns are at the top of the agenda for nation States and corporations.
Therefore energy reuse, efficient energy usage, green sources of energy are all hot topics in today’s world. Cryptocurrencies must adapt to this agenda or quickly face mounting criticism and formal regulation by environmental agencies.
Hydromining therefore fits into this context by leveraging natural water falls and gravity driven water streams as sources of electrical energy which can be used for mining. The excess heat produced in mining can also be used to heat the water itself and be used for hydroponics and other applications where temperature control is required.
Currently, startup projects like Hydrominer are offering solutions in this area. This project intends to work with hydropower stations to add mining infrastructure in loco, directly where power is generated from.
But users need not wait for such projects to deploy in order to attempt their own hydro power solutions. If you’ve got moving water available, chances are you can build a micro hydro-power plant without disrupting natural life or the water source. For instance, the following successful micro hydro power project can produce from 15 to 100 kw of power(!!):
This innovative design will not harm fish and wildlife and will concentrate even small streams of water into a powerful concentrated stream capable of generating kilowatts of electrical power 24×7 or for as long as the water stream is live. The above design is developed by Turbulent Hydro, a company from Belgium which specializes in small DIY electrical turbines that can be deployed on small streams of water.
There are plenty of other cool ideas on Youtube, take for instance the following project which leverages a nice yet small stream of downhill water for power generation via a turbine:
As we can see, generating enough power for a mining rig does not require large amounts of hydro power. Unsuspecting streams of water which aren’t currently being tapped could be repurposed to generate energy for a rig.
It is important that you carefully weigh the environmental cost of such hydro power projects. Make sure to check with your local authorities and study the applying legislation carefully so that your project won’t be subject to sanctions for breaking any rules. In any such project, the path where fish swim must be kept unaltered, especially during mating season when they tend to swim up stream to lay their eggs at the highest points in the system. The path back through the stream must be clear for fish to complete this yearly ritual. Here’s a starting list with some agencies you may contact to get started on your legal research about the applying legislation and environmental impact of your hydro power project. And here’s a nice overview of the legislation impacting hydro power projects.
Once power is generated, hydro mining is not at all different from regular mains-based mining.
You will need to take some additional measures to keep your rig healthy. Mining profitability depends largely on constancy, not on instantaneous speed. Rigs with immense hashing power but which are plagued with downtime and connection problems are not profitable. The key to a profitable rig is constancy and good maintenance. A stable power supply is therefore obligatory in order to run a profitable mining operation. This means your hydro power source may not be the sole source of power. A scheme can be devised where grid power works as a backup for your hydro generator. Very fast switching UPS’s are capable of commutation between your hydro generator and mains power without noticeable delay by the rig. Good PC power supplies also suppress any eventual switching spike. A battery bank tied to an on-grid inverter can work as a buffer for temporary glitches and power spikes. The added cost of a battery bank can offset your mining profits, but it is a nice additional layer for a green power operation.
Hydro power also does not change the fact that your internet connection should be stable 24×7. If your rig is running at full steam with a perfect supply of hydro power, but for some reason the internet connection is intermittent or unstable, then the rig will not be profitable either. So regardless of the power source, make sure a stable internet connection is available 24×7, better still if it’s a dedicated connection just for the mining rig. Keep your personal/professional browsing on a separate connection as to separate the traffic.
Since a lot of hydro power generators will be located outside urban areas, the internet connection issue may become a complication for hydro mining operations. A good rural area internet radio provider should therefore be researched before embarking on the electrical power project per se.
We hope this short foray into hydro mining has given you ideas for a green cryptocurrency mining operation. As with everything else in cryptocurrencies, every new development has the potential to be a pioneering work, since cryptos themselves are completely new, you have the privilege to be at the forefront of a revolution that demands creativity and various kinds of know-how in order to build neat projects. Hydro mining is just beginning to trend and there’s ample space for creative solutions using green energy sources to fuel the future of money. If you do build a neat hydro mining project, we’d love to hear about it! Please send us any tips and ideas to firstname.lastname@example.org – we’d love to see and share your hydro mining solution with our readers!
Illustration credit: Tennessee Valley Authority; SVG version by Tomia / Via Wikipedia