A Pennylvanian crypto-mining company Stronghold Digital Mining is planning to use rubber as a recycled fuel for its operation. Currently, Stronghold is looking for permission that would allow it to produce up to 15% of its fuel from shredded tires at the Panther Creek plant in Nesquehoning.
According to the local media, the company, which acquired the Panther Creek plant in 2021, submitted an application to the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) in June this year. The Stronghold requested the use of the Tire Derived Fuel (TDF) with the goal of burning it at the Pather Creek plant as well.
However, this move is opposed by local environmental activists. Despite the fact that TDF is legal in the U.S. and is used in four power plants in Pennsylvania, activists have noted the dubious state of these facilities, already consuming TDF, and insist that cryptocurrency mining facilities should not be granted such permits. An advocate with Clean Air Council Russell Zerbo said in the Pennsylvania radio show:
“Because [Panther Creek] uses the electricity it produces to generate cryptocurrency, rather than selling that electricity to the energy grid, the plant should be completely re-permitted as a solid waste incinerator that would be subject to increased air pollution monitoring requirements.”
In addition, Charles McPhedran, an attorney with the public interest environmental law group Earthjustice, indicated emission of sulfur dioxide and nitrogen oxide spiked when Stronghold took over the Panther Creek plant.