How to utilize heat efficiently when mining
Powerful equipment is prone to generate heat in huge amounts, which is pretty normal for machinery working at constant and intensive mode. Every miner chooses his own way of dealing with this problem, and only a few are trying to make profit from the “heat problem”. BiXBiT has developed a solution, which is not only makes mining more comfortable, but also allows to utilize the heat efficiently.
The effect of the ability of devices to emit glow in the visible range has long and successfully been used in everyday life. The simplest examples are teapots and irons.
However, the heat generated by the electronics is not always used efficiently. As usual, manufacturers solve only one global problem - cooling of the hottest elements of the equipment, through air dispersing. Such way of cooling is still the most common even though in 1981 Seymour Cray has proposed an alternative - to cool powerful equipment in a dielectric liquid and what he did with his supercomputer - Cray-2.
Approaches to cool the equipment
Miners and owners of large computing capacities typically deal with three types:
- passive cooling with the use of radiators is not suitable for cooling mining equipment, where the operating temperature is over 90-100ºC. Such approach is usually used only for devices with relatively low heat dissipation (chipsets, RAM modules), when the generated heat is dispersed without any difficulties.
- active cooling is the only common way of cooling the mining equipment, including ASICs and GPUs. A distinctive feature of this type of cooling is the installation of a fan to increase the intensity of the air flow between heated elements and radiators. In GPUs, a cooler is installed above the graphics processor. In case of ASICs, there are two fans which blow the chips at the speed of 6000-7000 rpm. The heat is also dispersed into the environment and it is rather difficult to "catch" it. Using the heat is impossible in that case, due to the low thermostaticity of air.
- immersion cooling is a relatively new method of cooling equipment, which is based on placing the equipment into dielectric liquid. During operation, the heat can be just dispersed into the environment with a cooling tower or it can be directed to the heating system of the associated infrastructure.Today, immersion cooling is the most effective approach to cooling, which also allows to redirect heat flows to other needs.
As a result of the research, BiXBiT specialists has developed a dual-purpose installation. It allows to mine and effectively use the heat generated by the computing equipment and utilize it for household needs.
Ways of heat utilization
BiXBiT installation allows to use the generated heat in:
- heating systems, including floors heating and water supply systems;
- transition of a medium from one phase state to another, vapor generation. This is a phase transition of a fuel-air mixture to provide cycles of heat-engines or vapor compression refrigerators.
- heating of the drying agent;
- drying of wood;
- brewing (boiling of wort);
- agriculture (greenhouse complexes, cultivation of heat-loving plants, breeding of exotic animals, etc.)
Here are three examples of using our installation in specific conditions:
Industrial workshops. This type of industries are usually provided with low electricity rates for enterprises. There are also spare transformer stations, which stand idle for most of the time. Premisses are heated with fossil fuels or electricity.
BiXBiT installation allows to use the reserve power line more efficiently and save the enterprise's resources for the premises heating by connecting the installations to the central heating system.
Warehouse, shopping center, office center. These types of premises use the average electricity tariff, and they also have a power reserve supply. The premises are also with fossil fuels or electricity.
Our installation supplies heat to the premises through air ducts or is connected to the central heating system.
Greenhouses. Private agricultural companies use cheap tariffs or electricity from solar panels. Greenhouses are heated with electricity.
Intended for heating electricity is transferred to the power supply of our installation, which provides high temperatures necessary for the heat maintaining. The installation operates in the 24/7 mode, which guarantees a steadily heat supply inside the greenhouses.
Benefits of useful heat utilization
Using a by-product from the work of computing or mining equipment is a universal solution for most users and that's why:
saving on energy resources and ensuring energy autonomy. Decentralization and independence from exclusive suppliers of thermal energy will reduce costs, especially in cold climate regions;
no need to organize hot and cold corridors, additionally install air conditioning or other auxiliary equipment. The solution we offer is an all-in-one complex that can be easily connected to the existing infrastructure;
gaining additional income not from mining only, but also through entrepreneurial activity using the received heat or from its sale;
integration into the existing infrastructure. The unification and simplicity of installation applied by us allows to connect to existing capacities, rather than creating another infrastructure complex;
there is no negative impact on the ecology in the form of thermal pollution, the appearance of thermal islands or artificial temperature inversion over the heat source. There is no microcirculation of the atmosphere. As well the mechanism of pollution transfer is not being complicated.
Mechanics of useful heat utilization
By default, BiXBiT installations use closed circuits, one of which circulates immersion liquid, the other — coolant. The coolant is pumped into the heat exchanger in order to cool the upper layer of the heated immersion liquid. Taking a part of the heat from the immersion liquid, the coolant then transfers the heat to the cooling tower, which consists of a radiator and a fan. Through the cooling tower, the heat is dispersed into the environment. The described process is cyclic. The cooling tower in this case serves as an external cooling system unit and is required if consumer does not have an opportunity or desire to use the by-product - heat.
The solution developed by the BiXBiT specialists allows to fully or partially utilize generated heat. In case of full heat utilization, the installations are equipped with an exchanger, which connects the closed circuit (with the immersion liquid inside) and the external circuit of the heat consumption source. Which makes it possible to keep the heat stable and permanently divert it for other needs through the decoupling heat exchanger.
Partial use of heat is a combination of the two above-described techniques. For this purpose, the consumption system is usually connected to the circuit, and an additional heat exchanger is set up. Also a cooling tower (with a radiator and a fan) and a pair of cranes controlled by a bypass are installed. When the bypass is closed (when there is a need for heat), the immersion liquid is sent to a heat exchanger where all the heat or part of it is delivered to the consumption system. With partial heat consumption, the immersion liquid is being cooled and returns back to the installation. If heat utilization is not required, the immersion liquid is cooled by a cooling tower with operating fans and after that the fluid is returned to the working tank.
Prospects for heat utilization
Beneficial use of generated heat will lead to the restructuring of the existing infrastructure. Detached house owners and small industries will be able to abandon the central headrace service, using them only as a reserve.
Today the development of thermal batteries is underway. Thermal storage can save energy and provide a backup in case of sudden shutdown of the heating system. The main goal of energy storage is to overcome, smooth out the inconsistencies between the supply of energy to the consumer and his real needs. The BiXBiT complexes can become an essential of such a system.
Greenhouse farms will get rid of cumbersome systems and even in the coldest regions it will be possible to grow fresh vegetables and at the same time to support the block-network networks in 24/7 mode.
Software and hardware complexes with computing and mining equipment inside will perform along with purely utilitarian functions (cryptocurrency mining, useful computing, rendering, learning AI, etc.), will also become indispensable helpers in the organization of small greenhouses, woodworking industries and other similar types of business.