The Bureau of Mines, as part of its health and safety research program has investigated a technique for improving the performance of mine refrigeration systems. By converting the potential energy of the incoming water to electrical energy, rather than to heat energy, the water stays colder. This results in cooler mine temperatures and a healthier, more comfortable working environment for miners. A primary spinoff advantage resulting from this research is an energy savings from employing such a refrigeration technique. Recognizing the value of recoverable potential energy, the Bureau of Mines has undertaken a project to study the application of energy recovery techniques to the United States mining industry. To this end, the Bureau has contracted with Foster- Miller, Inc., of Waltham, MA, to investigate, evaluate, and demonstrate commercially available means of efficiently recovering the energy from any incoming cooling water source. This project has led to procurement, installation, and operation of a complete thermal energy recovery system. The test site is the Lucky Friday Mine, owned and operated by the Hecla Mining Company of Wallace, Idaho. The Lucky Friday Mine is located in Mullan, Idaho, in the Coeur d'Alenes region of upper Idaho.
Proc. 2nd U.S. Mine Ventilation Symp., Reno, Nevada, Sept. 23-25, 1985, PP. 589-597