Preliminary studies of the use of abandoned mine water for geothermal applications

Document Type

Conference Proceeding

Publication Date



There are a great number of abandoned mine shafts in the US as well as other countries. Taking the Upper Peninsula (U.P.) in Michigan, for example, abandoned copper mine shafts are widely distributed in the area and about 90% of them are filled with water. This study presents preliminary results on the use of abandoned mine shafts for geothermal applications, which include a field study, a theoretical framework, and preliminary simulations results. The field study involved measurements of temperatures and chemicals in the mine water, which are of major concern in recovering geothermal energy from mine water. The theoretical framework provided a mathematical description for studying the scientific issue. It is the first time such a framework is established for holistically formulating the coupled physical processes in the mine water-surrounding porous material system. Preliminary simulations were conducted to test a critical part of the theoretical framework. The simulation results provided interesting insights into the phenomena observed in the data measured in the field study.

Publisher's Statement

© 2015 American Society of Civil Engineers Publisher's version of record: https://doi.org/10.1061/9780784479087.152

Publication Title

Proceedings of the International Foundations Congress and Equipment Expo 2015