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Making and Storing Energy In Mines

Updated: Nov 2, 2021

Authors: Maia Madrid, Jordan Kelley, Jessica Applin

Environmental and Energy Policy program

Social Sciences Department

Michigan Technological University

The Frankenmine’s infographic below is designed to explain how abandoned mines could be used for geothermal energy purposes in combination with energy storage purposes. There are abandoned mine shafts in many areas throughout the United States. These often become flooded with groundwater that seeps in through cracks and fissures in the rocks. This water is often much warmer than the temperatures found at the surface because it is sourced from deep underground where the earth’s thermal energy has helped heat it. It proposes that energy producers take advantage of these abandoned sites to combine geothermal energy use and pumped underground hydro-storage facilities . This would allow companies or communities to save money on infrastructure costs by using and updating the infrastructure in the shaft and this will also help eliminate abandoned sites that are often safety risks for communities. If we discuss this as harnessing our past traditions, in former mining towns, and bringing them into the 21st century with renewable energy applications, then we are respecting our past while capitalizing our future. This is a community project, the community needs to be involved, listened to, heard and understood. Overall, this infographic is suitable for a variety of uses, all of them focused on community knowledge and improving community access to affordable and local energy. Using abandoned, flooded mines to recover geothermal energy provides a significant opportunity for many communities across America, and our infographic provides a succinct and clear summary easily accessible by any interested party no matter what education level or age. In addition, the variety of mediums in which this infographic can thrive and the potential pairings with education and media provide a variety of distribution opportunities.

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