Category Archives: Michigan Tech News



Tapping into Mine Water Geothermal

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Old mine tunnels, like ones under this hoist, are filled with water, which may be a valuable geothermal resource. Credit: Edward Louie

From Tech Today:

by Allison Mills, science and technology writer

The water filling abandoned mine tunnels could be a major geothermal resource, both on the Keweenaw Peninsula and across the United States.

Student researchers at Michigan Tech have put together the first comprehensive guidebook communities can use to explore the feasibility of using mine water for geothermal energy to heat and cool buildings. While there is great potential for this resource, there are less than 30 active mine water geothermal systems in the world. One is at Michigan Tech’s Keweenaw Research Center just north of Houghton.

The research team will present their work to the public in Calumet on April 6 in the atrium of the CLK School from 7 to 9 p.m. Community members can interact with a tabletop model showing how mine water geothermal works, calculate the distance from their own home to the nearest mine shaft and make approximate cost calculations for installation and pay-back using a calculator tool. People of all ages are welcome.

Next week they travel to Washington D.C. to present their work at the Sustainable Design Expo, funded by the Environmental Protection Agency.

Learn more about how mine water geothermal works in the full article here.

See additional articles published on Mining-Technology.com and Hydrogen Fuel News.


Solomon Publishes on Biofuel Sustainability in Latin America and the Caribbean

FROM TECH TODAY:cover

Professor Barry Solomon (SS) published a paper “Biofuel sustainability in Latin America and the Caribbean–a Review of Recent Experiences and Future Prospects,” in the journal Biofuels, online January 2015. It was coauthored with Robert Bailis (Yale University), Christine Moser (Leuphana Universitat, Germany) and Tina Hildebrandt (Edeka, Hamburg, Germany).

ABSTRACT:

The Latin American and Caribbean (LAC) region is a leader in global biofuel production, accounting for 27% of supply. This is driven by a proliferation of mandates and targets calling for increased use of biofuels around the world. Unsustainable biofuel production can alter landscapes and stress social-ecological systems. To mitigate impacts, different types of governance mechanisms have been introduced including national regulations, voluntary certification schemes, sustainability standards, meta-standards, and codes of conduct. Voluntary certification has gained prominence in the region, with over 220 producers and processors in 12 LAC countries obtaining certification. However, given the potential social and environmental impacts evident in the region, voluntary certification may be insufficient and stronger sustainability mechanisms may be justified.


Industrial Archaeology Program Recognized for Fieldwork at West Point Foundry

WPF-Group-2004Scenic Hudson, a charitable organization dedicated to the protection and restoration of the Hudson River area, has received two New York State Historic Preservation awards honoring its success in protecting and connecting people to the remains of the West Point Foundry—one of America’s most important 19th-century ironworks—located in Cold Spring, N.Y.

Students and faculty in the Department of Social Sciences’ Industrial Archaeology Program were recognized in a recent Poughkeepsie Journal  article titled “Scenic Hudson Honored for Work at West Point Foundry Preserve” for fieldwork conducted at the West Point Foundry Preserve over seven years.

Abstract:

The historic interpretation benefited from Scenic Hudson’s sponsorship of seven years of archaeological fieldwork conducted by students and teachers in Michigan Technological University’s Industrial Archaeology Program led by Dr. Patrick Martin.


Wellstead Publishes on the Challenges of Climate Change Policy

lpad20.v037.i14.coverA paper coauthored by Assistant Professor Adam Wellstead (SS), “Addressing the Challenges of Adaptation to Climate Change Policy: Integrating Public Administration and Public Policy Studies,” was published in the International Journal of Public Administration, Volume 37, Issue 14. (from Tech Today)

Abstract:

With growing attention on formulating the “right” policies and programs to address climate change, the contribution that policy work will make in fostering adaptive capacity needs to be examined. Policy capacity is crucial to policy formulation and should be at the heart of climate mainstreaming. There are six hypotheses about the nature of climate-based policy work based on a survey conducted of Canadian federal and provincial government employees in the forestry, finance, infrastructure, and transportation sectors. To measure the simultaneous effects on perceived policy capacity, an Ordinary Least Squares regression was conducted. Among the key findings was that the increased demand for climate change science within an organization resulted in a decreased perception of policy capacity. Policy work was largely focused on procedure activities rather than on evaluation. The model found that networking was critically important for perceived policy capacity. Effective policy formulation will involve the participation of others normally not associated with traditional policy work. Evidence-based policy work illustrates that policy success can be achieved by improving the amount and type of information processed in public policy formulation.


Langston to Present at FOLK Annual Meeting

LangstonNancy Langston, professor of environmental history and social sciences, will be speaking about the Binational Forum’s work in the Lake Superior Basin at the FOLK annual meeting on Wednesday, November 19th. Langston is a member of the Great Lakes Research Center and the Binational Forum.

The presentation will take place at the Portage Lake District Library at 6 p.m. Both the meeting and the presentation are open to the public. Refreshments will be served.

From Tech Today.


Winkler (SS) and Meldrum (KRC) Quoted in Midwest Energy News

mine shaft

From Tech Today.

Richelle Winkler (SS) and Jay Meldrum (Keweenaw Research Center) were quoted in the recent article “Abandoned Michigan Mineshafts Could Be New Energy Option” in Midwest Energy News.

Abstract:

“Mineshaft geothermal” is gaining attention here as researchers investigate the energy potential stored hundreds of feet below the ground. The water in these abandoned and flooded mines, which expand throughout the U.P., is just now starting to be used to heat and cool buildings.


SS Talk: Melissa Baird on “Mining is Our Heritage: Corporate Discourse and the Politics of Extraction”

IMG_086412:00 noon on Friday, October 24 in AOB 201.  Melissa Baird, Assistant Professor of Anthropology, Social Sciences will present, “Mining is Our Heritage:  Corporate Discourse and the Politics of Extraction“.

The Pilbara Coast of Western Australia serves as a touchstone to examine how global mining industries are mobilizing the language of heritage, indigenous rights, and sustainability in their conceptions of heritage and through their corporate and social responsibility campaigns. I present preliminary insights that point to the urgency in making clear the competing claims and tracing the varied agendas of global institutions, corporations, the nation-state, and stakeholders. How exactly is heritage and the language of indigenous rights being used in claim-making and how do new iterations of corporate conceptions of heritage intersect with the rights and lands of indigenous peoples?

 


D80 Conference Saturday

d80-logo-v1Students Step Up to Help the Poorest 80%

The D80 Center includes Engineers Without Borders, the Michigan Tech Open Sustainability Technology lab, iDesign, the Peace Corps Master’s International program (PCMI), Global City and the Terra Preta Working Group.

Each fall, the D80 Center hosts a conference to showcase the work these student organizations are doing to help underserved communities at home and around the world. This year’s conference is Saturday, Oct. 11 from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. in the Dow Building at Michigan Tech. It is free and open to faculty, staff, students and the public. “Engage in Community” is this year’s theme.

“Designs and solutions simply aren’t going to be sustainable if they are not aligned with, and in fact driven by, community priorities,” says Civil and Environmental Engineering Professor David Watkins, director of the D80 Center. “Solutions also have to be appropriate given the community’s technical and organizational capacity and economic resources. It’s well known that successful projects have a common trait of strong community engagement. We also want to emphasize the benefits to students of getting engaged in their local communities or with communities abroad, hence the theme ‘Engage (in) Community.’”

The conference features student presentations, with time for questions, answers and discussion; workshops hosted by faculty; and a keynote presentation, “The Complexities of Water, Climate and Health.” The keynote speaker is Jonathon Mellor, a graduate of Michigan Tech’s PCMI program now at Yale University. He will share the work he has done to address global health issues.

“People should attend to find out about all the great things student groups, and some recent Michigan Tech graduates, are doing,” urges Watkins. “We also want students working on projects to have a chance to share their experiences and learn from each other. Finally, we hope students who have not gotten involved yet will be able to learn more about the opportunities available to them and be inspired to get involved.”

Advance registration is requested and has been extended to Friday, Oct. 10. Registration, the program and additional details are available on the conference web page.