Friday, September 23, 2016

Slippery Rock Watershed Coalition: Electricity Generated From Mine Drainage? Yes!

The Slippery Rock Watershed Coalition September Catalyst newsletter included this feature on generating electricity from mine drainage treatment systems--
Research, education programs, and demonstrations of innovative mine drainage treatment and land reclamation technologies have been ongoing at the Jennings Environmental Education Center passive treatment system for over 20 years in Butler County.
Jennings staff is excited to demonstrate the generation of electricity by a new off-grid, first-of-its-kind, nano/pico- hydropower facility using partially-treated mine drainage.
The electricity generated, although very limited due to the 15- to 20-gpm mine drainage flow rate, is currently powering light in the Foltz School-house, which is under renovation by the JEEC for educational programs.
The electricity generated by the hydropower facility is currently the only source of electricity to the historic, one-room, Foltz Schoolhouse. (Photo)
This project was made possible through Commonwealth Financing Authority funding via a grant to the nonprofit Stream Restoration Incorporated, and partnerships with Josh Matheny, a graduate student in mechanical engineering at West Virginia University, and AquaFix Systems, Inc., based in Kingwood, WV.
Components that would come in contact with the corrosive, partially-treated, abandoned mine drainage were constructed using stainless steel.
AquaFix Systems/Preston Machine Inc. facilitated the design, manufacture, and installation of the electricity-generating components, with installation also handled by BioMost, Inc. An onsite AquaFix® waterwheel is incorporated into the design of the hydropower facility.
Construction consisted of three main phases: retrofitting the AquaFix® waterwheel with the hydropower generating facilities (“Trickle Charger”); diverting water from the Jennings VFP outlet pipe to the AquaFix® waterwheel and returning the water to the passive treatment system; and installing the electric wiring from the hydropower generator to the Foltz Schoolhouse with installation of a switch-operated light fixture.
Josh delivered and assisted in assembling and connecting the “Trickle Charger” to the AquaFix® System in mid-June of this year.
The “Trickle Charger” includes not only the 24-volt generator, but also the batteries to be charged by the electricity generated as well as the charge controller, isolation switch, diode, and transformer.
Two, 12-volt, batteries continuously charged by the “Trickle Charger” are used to provide electricity to the Foltz Schoolhouse.
Partially-treated mine water was diverted to the AquaFix® waterwheel by excavating a trench to the existing PVC outlet pipe from the Jennings VFP and installing a “penstock” to the waterwheel.
Two, PVC, ball valves were installed to control the flow to the waterwheel. The diverted water operates (spins) the waterwheel to generate electricity.
The water is then discharged from the waterwheel into an upgraded rock-lined channel which conveys the flow to a culvert pipe which outlets to the existing channel wetland.
As thousands of people including local students, out-of-state visitors, and international professionals participate in the educational opportunities at the site, JEEC signage and educational programs will be used to demonstrate the generation of electricity by this unique pico-hydropower system!
For more information on programs, initiatives, upcoming events and volunteer opportunities, visit the Slippery Rock Watershed Coalition website.  Click Here to sign up for your own copy of The Catalyst newsletter.
Clean Creek Products
Looking for a holiday gift that will please the most discriminating taste and help the environment? Consider pottery products from Clean Creek.
Clean Creek Products, a division of Stream Restoration Inc., a nonprofit watershed restoration organization, was formed to market the metals recovered in treating abandoned mine drainage.  One of the uses for these metals is in ceramic pottery glazing.
Every product you purchase from Clean Creek will not only support the artists that create them, but also helps support watershed groups doing local projects to help restore Pennsylvania's over 16,500 miles of polluted waterways.

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