May 23, 2024


The Internet Generation

Researchers Investigate Pumped Storage in Retired Underground Mines

A few professors from Michigan Technological College and Texas A&M College are
investigating a approach to retail store power generated by alternate energy sources by building
use of unused and abandoned underground mining internet sites in Michigan’s Higher Peninsula. 

If tested profitable, the project could supply a blueprint for delivering ongoing
energy from intermittent and zero-emission sources.

To satisfy the expanding desire for electrical energy throughout the globe, two reasonably new
sources of electrical power have dominated development action in quite a few spots — wind turbines
and photo voltaic arrays. The advantage of these generation sources is that, at the time set up,
they have no gas expenditures or emissions and lead minimally to international warming trends.

A single main impediment to wind and photo voltaic electrical power is that they are intermittent that
is, they only generate electrical energy part of the time (around 25% to 33%), as there
are durations when the wind does not blow and the sunlight does not shine. That poses main
problems to the electric powered grid, which necessitates instantaneous, well balanced energy to continue to keep
supply and desire consistent.

 About MTEC

Michigan Tech Business Corporation (MTEC) is a single of 21 SmartZone Incubators in the
condition of Michigan. MTEC is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit business functioning with the Michigan
Financial Advancement Corporation (MEDC). 

Knowing the possibility and opportunity, scientists Tim Scarlett and Roman Sidortsov of Michigan Tech and Joseph Dancy, a Michigan Tech Business Corporation (MTEC)
board member and professor in the Texas A&M College or university of Regulation, have resolved to look into
various techniques to retail store energy produced by alternate signifies. “Storage can present
reasonably environmentally pleasant assist to the current electric powered grid,” said Sidortsov.
“This is a single action in the suitable route, accelerating alter towards a reduced-carbon

The a few professors work with a more substantial crew, supported by the Sloan Basis, and
are presently on the lookout at making use of the historic copper and iron mines in the Higher Peninsula
of Michigan. They are  investigating pumped storage — preserving excessive renewable energy
produced during sunny or windy days for use during durations of higher desire — making use of
aged mine shafts. This is obtained by pumping the underground drinking water up to the surface
during durations of conventional excessive energy generation, then allowing for the drinking water to
drain back into the shaft to generate energy during durations of desire. This system
would be a closed-loop system to decrease environmental impacts. “Pumped storage is
a basic and tested approach for running intermittent energy generation from renewable
sources,” said Dancy.

Scarlett also pointed out that the previous mining communities have lively cultural heritage.
In addition to investigating the feasibility of pumped storage, the scientists realized
the value of safeguarding the cultural history of each individual region. “If we are profitable,
we could possibly not only present higher-desire energy from inexperienced energy sources, but establish
a layout system that builds on community history and id,” said Scarlett.

Dancy extended the trio’s investigate by on the lookout at the applicability of pumped storage
to photo voltaic facilities being built in West Texas, yet another historic mining region
that is in the midst of a main renewable energy development growth. Texas has its have
energy grid, with procedures that are considerably various from individuals in Northern Michigan.

Dancy presented his Texas results to the North Texas Renewable Electricity Team previously this thirty day period.

Previous summer months, Dancy and Dan Jamison, CEO of MTEC SmartZone, visited the L’Anse Warden
energy plant, a biomass producing facility on the shores of Lake Superior, as they
investigated prospects for firms in the electrical power sector in the encompassing
region. Various local makers are also attempting to address niches in the energy

Currently, the crew is on the lookout to safe funding so scholar scientists can start out
original work this summer months.

MTEC’s mission is to facilitate the development and ongoing success of higher-tech value
propositions in conjunction with the local entrepreneurial ecosystem. Due to the fact 2003,
the MTEC SmartZone has delivered mentoring, complex assist and other products and services to
local businesses that have led to the development of more than 800 higher-tech employment in the Houghton
and Hancock region. 

The Michigan Financial Advancement Corporation, in collaboration with much more than a hundred
financial development associates, marketplaces Michigan as the spot to do small business, helps
firms in their expansion procedures, and fosters the expansion of lively communities
throughout the condition. MEDC’s Entrepreneurship & Innovation initiative establishes Michigan
as the spot to build and mature a small business by delivering higher-tech startup businesses
with accessibility to a wide range of vital assets, these kinds of as funding and professional counsel,
from ideation to maturation. For much more on MEDC Entrepreneurship & Innovation, go to

Michigan Technological College is a general public investigate university, property to much more than
seven,000 college students from 54 international locations. Founded in 1885, the College gives much more than
one hundred twenty undergraduate and graduate degree packages in science and technological innovation, engineering,
forestry, small business and economics, health and fitness professions, humanities, arithmetic, and
social sciences. Our campus in Michigan’s Higher Peninsula overlooks the Keweenaw Waterway
and is just a couple miles from Lake Superior.