Renewables: energy from mines

Renewables: energy from mines

Emilio Fabio Torsello
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In the United States, plans are being developed for an underground pumped storage hydroelectricity system to harness the energy of millions of cubic meters of water accumulated in mines, while researchers in China are pioneering solar biomimicry

Generating energy from millions of cubic meters of water that has accumulated in mines is a project that has been talked about for years, but few have tried it out. A pumped storage hydroelectricity system could turn the world’s thousands of mines into a new source of intermittent energy, analogous to wind and solar. One such project is soon to be implemented in an iron mine in the USA’s Adirondack Mountains, harnessing a few million liters of the mine’s subterranean water to turn dozens of underground hydroelectric turbines. The plan is still awaiting federal approval and may require up to three years of construction work, but it has the potential to become one of the United States’ first mine-based power storage plants. A precedent for the project is represented by the one already operating at the Glenmuckloch coal mine in Scotland, which generates 400MW.
Among other innovations in the market, China’s Shanghai Jiao Tong University has developed a new anti-reflective coating made using titanium dioxide (TiO2). The system imitates the structure of cicada wings in order to further enhance the efficiency of photovoltaic technology. It is the latest achievement whose guiding principle is biomimicry – technological development driven by copying nature and biological structures.
The Kitselas First Nation is planning to build Canada’s first geothermal plant in the outskirts of Terrace, British Columbia. The project will cover 3,000 hectares and generate 15MW.