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Clearing the Way: Using Turbines to Reclaim or Remediate Acid Mine Drainage

[+] Author Affiliations
Amy L. Miller

University of Pittsburgh at Johnstown

Alyson Stegman

U.S. Patent and Trademark Office

Paper No. IMECE2006-14775, pp. 451-455; 5 pages
  • ASME 2006 International Mechanical Engineering Congress and Exposition
  • Innovations in Engineering Education: Mechanical Engineering Education, Mechanical Engineering Technology Department Heads
  • Chicago, Illinois, USA, November 5 – 10, 2006
  • Conference Sponsors: Mechanical Engineering Education, Mechanical Engineering Technology Department Heads
  • ISBN: 0-7918-4781-0 | eISBN: 0-7918-3790-4
  • Copyright © 2006 by ASME


Pennsylvania has a long history of coal mining. Unfortunately, it has left many scars. The Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection (PA DEP) is looking at the potential of using micro hydro turbines in acid mine drainage streams. They hope to make it profitable for business to "clean-up" the streams by providing seed money to initiate the hydro turbine projects. It is believed that businesses can profit from both the energy created by the turbines and the extraction of the acid mine drainage (AMD) minerals. The minerals and concentrations vary with each stream. Some possess precious metals, others contain minerals that are used in paint pigment, and still others are being researched for use in powder metallurgy. The paper outlines an undergraduate research project done at the University of Pittsburgh at Johnstown. The study is to create a comprehensive diagnostic spreadsheet to be used by the PA DEP to determine viable economical turbines based on waterway conditions. The study has parallel phases: one addressing issues related to turbine parameters and a second dealing with waterway variables. Also to be discussed in the paper is the use of the project as an undergraduate research study for technology students. For students interested in research or graduate school, it is immensely important to introduce them to research. By guiding them through the process they are better prepared for their future.

Copyright © 2006 by ASME



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