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The characterization of flooded abandoned mines in Ohio as a low-temperature geothermal resource

Joshua Richardson, Dina Lopez, Timothy Leftwich, Mike Angle, Mark Wolfe and Frank Fugitt
The characterization of flooded abandoned mines in Ohio as a low-temperature geothermal resource (in Geothermal energy; an important resource, Carolyn B. Dowling (editor), Klaus Neumann (editor) and Lee J. Florea (editor))
Special Paper - Geological Society of America (2016) 519: 19-41


By using ground source heat pumps to exchange heat with the shallow surface, areas with minimal or no tectonic activity can still be viable resources for low-temperature geothermal energy. This study focuses on generally characterizing the potential exploitation of flooded mines as low-temperature thermal resources within Ohio. These unconventional thermal resources offer large, thermally stable bodies of water, which store relatively more heat than saturated soils and bedrock. The legacy of underground mining, predominantly in the southeastern and eastern portions of Ohio, makes ground source heat pump geothermal energy a potentially valuable resource for the state. Using geographic information system (GIS) software, mines that were either flooded or partially flooded and within 1.6 km of a population center were selected as potential candidates for ground source heat pump exploitation. Physical and thermal parameters were calculated for each of the identified geothermal sites. These include: maximum and minimum residence times of waters within the mines, maximum and minimum recharge to the mines, effective mine volumes, linear groundwater velocities, groundwater flow direction, and percentage of the mine that is flooded. The total theoretical amount of heat extraction or addition per degree change in mine water temperature (Celsius degree) was calculated for each identified mine site, as well as the potential amount of heat either entering or being dissipated in mine waters due to groundwater recharge. This study identified 147 possible mine sites spanning 21 counties that might be used for ground source heat pump installations in Ohio. The mines have an estimated average maximum residence time ranging from 6 to 15 yr and an estimated average minimum residence time ranging from 3.6 to 8.9 yr. It was estimated that, on average, 10 (super 10) kJ degrees C (super -1) of heat energy could be extracted from the mines. Overall, this study has shown that abandoned underground mines contain enough stored heat to be used as thermal resources for ground source heat pump systems, and that the number and extent of mines within Ohio could make this type of geothermal resource valuable.

ISSN: 0072-1077
EISSN: 2331-219X
Serial Title: Special Paper - Geological Society of America
Serial Volume: 519
Title: The characterization of flooded abandoned mines in Ohio as a low-temperature geothermal resource
Title: Geothermal energy; an important resource
Author(s): Richardson, JoshuaLopez, DinaLeftwich, TimothyAngle, MikeWolfe, MarkFugitt, Frank
Author(s): Dowling, Carolyn B.editor
Author(s): Neumann, Klauseditor
Author(s): Florea, Lee J.editor
Affiliation: Ohio University, Department of Geological Sciences, Athens, OH, United States
Affiliation: Ball State University, Department of Geological Sciences, Muncie, IN, United States
Pages: 19-41
Published: 2016
Text Language: English
Publisher: Geological Society of America (GSA), Boulder, CO, United States
References: 17
Accession Number: 2016-087133
Categories: Economic geology, geology of energy sourcesEnvironmental geology
Document Type: Serial
Bibliographic Level: Analytic
Illustration Description: illus. incl. 4 tables, geol. sketch maps
N38°25'00" - N42°00'00", W84°49'60" - W80°31'60"
Secondary Affiliation: Ohio Department of Natural Resources, USA, United States
Country of Publication: United States
Secondary Affiliation: GeoRef, Copyright 2017, American Geosciences Institute. Reference includes data supplied by the Geological Society of America, Boulder, CO, United States
Update Code: 201643
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