Kaboom Waste to Energy — Guatemala

6 min readJul 13, 2022
A diesel engine running on used cooking oil with 2 S9 ASICS in the left foreground

This is part of an on-going open record of creating a Bitcoin circular economy in Panajachel, Guatemala — Bitcoin Lake/Lago Bitcoin. If you want to start at the beginning, you can read here. If you want the last update, you can start here.

I’ve started two companies in the past. I boot strapped both with my own money. I never felt comfortable asking people for money unless I had skin in the game. This approach teaches you to be very innovative and frugal. Money solves a lot of problems. If you don’t have money, then you have to solve the problems. I think a lot of us feel like problems are unsolvable because we don’t have the money to “fix it.” This lulls us into think in a centralized way. And this is no different with energy. Bill Whittaker has been instrumental in providing focus on this as we have modified our original energy options to start Bitcoin mining in Panajachel (see the start above). Generally when we think of green or renewable energy, we think big: solar, wind. And that’s how I thought, but those are capital intensive. When you don’t have the money, you have to solve the problem.

In my last update, I described how we found some pretty remarkable resources in Panajachel to start our Bitcoin mining project. On this last trip Bill started implementing our Bitcoin mining vision using an old diesel engine and used cooking oil. Cooking oil in Panajachel would normally be thrown out into the street/environment. Thanks to local efforts, old cooking oil is collected and sent to Guatemala city. Its fate there is unknown, but the point is that (not surprisingly and not judgmentally) without an incentive, coercion is needed to prevent the spillage of oil into the environment. Coercion in the sense that there is some outside force that enforces a recycling effort.

What Bill has accomplished at Bitcoin lake can’t be missed. He has started the virtuous cycle of recycling/reusing three items because an inherent economic incentive exists: Bitcoin.

#1) Recycled cooking oil

While it may be morally neutral to collect and send the oil to Guatemala city versus use it to run a diesel engine, which is ethically better? From an environmental perspective, each option saves the oil from draining into the lake. While using the oil in a diesel engine may seem dirty with CO2 emissions, the truck that takes the old cooking oil to Guatemala city has to travel 3 hours over drastic changes in elevation and once in the city likely has to idle in the heavy city traffic. And we can’t be sure what actually happens to the oil once it gets there. This could be verified, but the point is that takes time and effort. Maybe the oil is turned into soaps and purified for re-use. Either is better than it being dumped into the environment, though. In our model of using the used cooking oil for Bitcoin mining, we have immediate awareness of how it is used and what it produces: the soundest money in history using used cooking oil.

#2) Recycled diesel engine

Obviously a properly functioning engine like this could find its second or third life doing what normal diesel engines do. However, using a diesel engine to mine bitcoin provides an instant market for many of these engines that clutter property waiting for that new life, if it ever comes.

#3) Recycled S9 ASIC

This is the so-called “e-waste.” We are all familiar with this in our daily lives. We have plenty of electronics and smartphones that we dispose of and we are starting to see first generation S9 ASICs reach the end of their lives. With the global rise of energy costs and the upcoming Bitcoin halving in 2024, few, if any, S9s will be able to survive. In the Kaboom waste to energy proof of concept, we are re-using S9s. They will continue to have a second life for as long as they can function using free energy.

In this process we have demonstrated that “waste” can be turned into Bitcoin. Waste is matter, matter is energy, energy is Bitcoin — brilliant!

Bitcoin creating the most energy efficient economy

Fiat is proof of stake. Since no work is involved, waste is not valuable. There is a massive loss/waste of energy in this system — it is a “lossy” system. Bitcoin with proof of work values and utilizes every available atom of energy — it is a “lossless” system. It’s hard to think of any other process or non-living system in the known universe that provides the appropriate feedback loops to conserve as much energy as a Bitcoin circular economy. The sublimity of it all is that this digital coin in the digital world forces this to happen in the physical world — truly remarkable.

So Bill has started the process of what we want to try to accomplish: turn waste into energy. But we have come a long way from the “legacy” green energy that we have been forced to think about for the past forty years. We believe Bitcoin mining will transform the energy markets and the environmental narrative but in a completely decentralized manner.

We’ve developed strategic partnerships to climb the energy ladder and scale this process country and region wide. We have just begun!

We’ve also been working for several months now to get a tuk tuk painted to advertise Bitcoin and Bitcoin lake. We finally got the finished product!

So when you come to Panajachel, you can take a ride in the world’s only Bitcoin tuk tuk!

Over the last several months @fabu69420 and Mel have been a tremendous help to the project. Mel officially began teaching english to the kids at Centro Educativo Josue. While Fabu and Mel aren’t permanent, we’ve started the process of teaching and looking for other solutions to have regular English classes for the children.

Fabu solved a major issue for us in creating our own point of sale system (POS). One of the major objections to the use of the Bitcoin Beach Wallet is the fact that it is not denominated in the local currency (Quetzal or “Q”). Fabu did a little coding magic and not only included the “Q” but all currencies, so the wallet can effectively be used in any country! Check it out here: https://pagar.bitcoinlake.io/

As you recall we’ve installed an S9 miner at city hall. It has hashed without interruption since we installed it back in April! It got a little dirty and needed some cleaning which gave Bill an opportunity to teach the kids at Josue school

Circuit board of our S9 miner at city hall

We continue to plug away at onboarding businesses. In some respects in a bear market it is easier — Bitcoin can only go up from here! If you want to get involved — reach out on Twitter here.