Researchers Investigate Pumped Storage in Retired Underground Mines

3 professors from Michigan Technological University and Texas A&M University are
investigating a process to keep power generated by alternate electric power resources by earning
use of unused and deserted underground mining websites in Michigan’s Higher Peninsula. 

If established prosperous, the job could supply a blueprint for providing continual
electric power from intermittent and zero-emission resources.

To meet the expanding demand for electrical power throughout the globe, two reasonably new
resources of electrical power have dominated building exercise in lots of locations — wind turbines
and photo voltaic arrays. The benefit of these generation resources is that, the moment put in,
they have no gasoline charges or emissions and add minimally to worldwide warming tendencies.

One big impediment to wind and photo voltaic electrical power is that they are intermittent that
is, they only make electrical power aspect of the time (approximately twenty five% to 33%), as there
are durations when the wind does not blow and the solar does not shine. That poses big
worries to the electrical grid, which calls for instantaneous, balanced electric power to hold
supply and demand constant.

 About MTEC

Michigan Tech Company Corporation (MTEC) is one particular of 21 SmartZone Incubators in the
point out of Michigan. MTEC is a 501(c)(three) nonprofit corporation working with the Michigan
Financial Advancement Corporation (MEDC). 

Realizing the opportunity and opportunity, scientists Tim Scarlett and Roman Sidortsov of Michigan Tech and Joseph Dancy, a Michigan Tech Company Corporation (MTEC)
board member and professor in the Texas A&M College of Law, have decided to investigate
different techniques to keep electric power created by alternate means. “Storage can offer you
reasonably environmentally pleasant aid to the present electrical grid,” said Sidortsov.
“This is one particular step in the correct direction, accelerating adjust toward a very low-carbon

The 3 professors get the job done with a greater group, supported by the Sloan Basis, and
are currently hunting at applying the historic copper and iron mines in the Higher Peninsula
of Michigan. They are  investigating pumped storage — saving surplus renewable electric power
created for the duration of sunny or windy times for use for the duration of durations of large demand — applying
old mine shafts. This is achieved by pumping the underground h2o up to the floor
for the duration of durations of traditional surplus electric power generation, then allowing for the h2o to
drain back again into the shaft to make electric power for the duration of durations of demand. This system
would be a closed-loop program to lessen environmental impacts. “Pumped storage is
a very simple and established process for taking care of intermittent electric power generation from renewable
resources,” said Dancy.

Scarlett also noted that the former mining communities have vibrant cultural heritage.
In addition to investigating the feasibility of pumped storage, the scientists understood
the value of safeguarding the cultural history of just about every space. “If we are prosperous,
we may well not only present large-demand electric power from inexperienced electric power resources, but build
a layout system that builds on group history and identification,” said Scarlett.

Dancy extended the trio’s study by hunting at the applicability of pumped storage
to photo voltaic facilities becoming manufactured in West Texas, another historic mining space
that is in the midst of a big renewable electric power building boom. Texas has its individual
electric power grid, with principles that are fairly different from individuals in Northern Michigan.

Dancy offered his Texas findings to the North Texas Renewable Electrical power Team before this month.

Final summer months, Dancy and Dan Jamison, CEO of MTEC SmartZone, visited the L’Anse Warden
electric power plant, a biomass generating facility on the shores of Lake Top-quality, as they
investigated prospects for enterprises in the electrical power sector in the bordering
space. Several regional companies are also attempting to tackle niches in the electric power

Now, the group is hunting to safe funding so college student scientists can begin
original get the job done this summer months.

MTEC’s mission is to aid the development and ongoing success of large-tech value
propositions in conjunction with the regional entrepreneurial ecosystem. Considering that 2003,
the MTEC SmartZone has presented mentoring, complex aid and other companies to
regional companies that have led to the development of above 800 large-tech work opportunities in the Houghton
and Hancock space. 

The Michigan Financial Advancement Corporation, in collaboration with more than one hundred
financial growth companions, markets Michigan as the position to do small business, assists
enterprises in their growth methods, and fosters the growth of vibrant communities
throughout the point out. MEDC’s Entrepreneurship & Innovation initiative establishes Michigan
as the position to develop and improve a small business by providing large-tech startup companies
with obtain to a wide variety of significant sources, such as funding and specialist counsel,
from ideation to maturation. For more on MEDC Entrepreneurship & Innovation, visit

Michigan Technological University is a general public study university, home to more than
7,000 students from fifty four nations around the world. Launched in 1885, the University offers more than
120 undergraduate and graduate diploma packages in science and engineering, engineering,
forestry, small business and economics, well being professions, humanities, arithmetic, and
social sciences. Our campus in Michigan’s Higher Peninsula overlooks the Keweenaw Waterway
and is just a number of miles from Lake Top-quality.