Update on use of mine pool water for power generation.

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In 2004, nearly 90 percent of the country's electricity was generated at power plants using steam-based systems (EIA 2005). Electricity generation at steam electric plants requires a cooling system to condense the steam. With the exception of a few plants using air-cooled condensers, most U.S. steam electric power plants use water for cooling. Water usage occurs through once-through cooling or as make-up water in a closed-cycle system (generally involving one or more cooling towers). According to a U.S. Geological Survey report, the steam electric power industry withdrew about 136 billion gallons per day of fresh water in 2000 (USGS 2005). ... continued below

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Veil, J. A.; Puder, M. G. & Division, Environmental Science September 30, 2006.

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In 2004, nearly 90 percent of the country's electricity was generated at power plants using steam-based systems (EIA 2005). Electricity generation at steam electric plants requires a cooling system to condense the steam. With the exception of a few plants using air-cooled condensers, most U.S. steam electric power plants use water for cooling. Water usage occurs through once-through cooling or as make-up water in a closed-cycle system (generally involving one or more cooling towers). According to a U.S. Geological Survey report, the steam electric power industry withdrew about 136 billion gallons per day of fresh water in 2000 (USGS 2005). This is almost the identical volume withdrawn for irrigation purposes. In addition to fresh water withdrawals, the steam electric power industry withdrew about 60 billion gallons per day of saline water. Many parts of the United States are facing fresh water shortages. Even areas that traditionally have had adequate water supplies are reaching capacity limits. New or expanded steam electric power plants frequently need to turn to non-traditional alternate sources of water for cooling. This report examines one type of alternate water source-groundwater collected in underground pools associated with coal mines (referred to as mine pool water in this report). In 2003, the U.S. Department of Energy's (DOE's) National Energy Technology Laboratory (NETL) funded Argonne National Laboratory (Argonne) to evaluate the feasibility of using mine pool water in Pennsylvania and West Virginia. That report (Veil et al. 2003) identified six small power plants in northeastern Pennsylvania (the Anthracite region) that had been using mine pool water for over a decade. It also reported on a pilot study underway at Exelon's Limerick Generating Station in southeastern Pennsylvania that involved release of water from a mine located about 70 miles upstream from the plant. The water flowed down the Schuylkill River and augmented the natural flow so that the Limerick plant could withdraw a larger volume of river water. The report also included a description of several other proposed facilities that were planning to use mine pool water. In early 2006, NETL directed Argonne to revisit the sites that had previously been using mine pool water and update the information offered in the previous report. This report describes the status of mine pool water use as of summer 2006. Information was collected by telephone interviews, electronic mail, literature review, and site visits.

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  • Report No.: ANL/EVS/R-06/6
  • Grant Number: DE-AC02-06CH11357
  • DOI: 10.2172/924684 | External Link
  • Office of Scientific & Technical Information Report Number: 924684
  • Archival Resource Key: ark:/67531/metadc898595

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  • September 30, 2006

Added to The UNT Digital Library

  • Sept. 27, 2016, 1:39 a.m.

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  • Dec. 9, 2016, 10:30 p.m.

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Veil, J. A.; Puder, M. G. & Division, Environmental Science. Update on use of mine pool water for power generation., report, September 30, 2006; United States. (digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc898595/: accessed September 24, 2018), University of North Texas Libraries, Digital Library, digital.library.unt.edu; crediting UNT Libraries Government Documents Department.