Author Archive

Appalachian coal mine waste could provide key ingredients for clean energy

Written by Jim Pierobon, Southeast Energy News on . Posted in Media, News

From left to right: Drs. Xingbo Liu, WVU Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering Dept., Aaron Noble, WVU Mining Engineering and Paul Ziemkiewicz, principal investigator
and WVWRI director.

Researchers at state universities in the Southeast are closing in on whether one of the region’s biggest liabilities – coal mine waste – might become a valuable asset by supplying rare earth elements needed for clean energy and other applications.

The answer lies in whether the University of Kentucky, Virginia Tech and West Virginia University, working with federal energy laboratories, a few coal companies and large manufacturers, can identify ways and locations to economically extract and process rare earth elements from the waste streams left over from mining coal throughout Appalachia and Western Kentucky.

“We’re working with members of the coal industry and state agencies that are engaged in treating AMD (acid mine drainage) solids to sample their waste streams, said Paul Ziemkiewicz, the lead researcher who heads the West Virginia University’s (WVU) research with colleagues Xingbo Liu and Aaron Noble at its Water Research Institute in Morgantown.

The collaborative effort faces its first key milestone this summer when it completes the first of two phases under $7 million of federal funding, said Roe-Hoan Yoon, the lead researcher at Virginia Tech in Blacksburg. The first $1 million is to produce a report summarizing their research findings to date.

Phase two, budgeted at $6 million, is to design a mobile pilot processing plant that could move among several sites, may be at risk if Congress does not pass a budget for the current or next fiscal year, which begins October 1. Yoon estimated the cost to build such a pilot facility at about $20 million.

“When you look at the list of what (REEs) we import, where we import it from, and what it is used for, it quickly becomes clear that we have a very real problem on our hands,” said Sen. Lisa Murkowski, chair of the Senate’s Energy and Natural Resources Committee hearing Tuesday. “If we let this go unchecked, we will come to a day of reckoning … when we simply cannot acquire a mineral, or when the market for a mineral changes so dramatically, that entire industries are affected.”

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Ziemkiewicz analyzes data from untreated mine water used as a drinking source for Inside Appalachia

Written by Tracy Novak, NRCCE Communications on . Posted in Media, News

Morgantown, W.Va. – As mining companies close and leave Appalachia, water systems in these company towns are often abandoned. Eight water systems in southern West Virginia are “intractable,” meaning the systems are no longer maintained and the water is no longer treated, leaving residents vulnerable. In Garwood (Wyoming County), water comes from an abandoned coal mine.

Inside Appalachia, a program on West Virginia Public Broadcasting, examined the question, “Is water from an abandoned coal mine fit to drink?” Reporter Anne Li asked Paul Ziemkiewicz, director of the West Virginia Water Research Institute, to comment on water testing results from coal mine water that feeds into Garwood’s derelict water system.

With the limited data provided, according to Ziemkiewicz, the worst containment in the water from 2000 to 2008 was coliform. This bacteria can be a sign of sewage contaminating the water supply. Data from 2008 to 2014 showed no signs of coliform, but because the water is still untreated, Garwood has been on a boil water advisory since 2015.

Hear more details on Inside Appalachia’s: “Coal’s Legacy in Appalachia: As Mining Companies Close, Water Systems Fail.” “Mine water as a drinking source” segment starts at 36.05. Ziemkiewicz’s comments at 37:01.

-NRCCE-

tn/2/20/17

An icon that notifies readers of a West Virginia Water Research Institute Event.

WVWRI to co-host regional water conference; announces Call for Abstracts

Written by Andrew Stacy on . Posted in Blog, Events, News

The West Virginia Water Research Institute at West Virginia University is accepting abstracts through March 27 for the 2017 Mid-Atlantic Water Resources Conference.

The event will be held October 12-13, 2017 at the National Conservation Training Center in Shepherdstown, W.Va. “Water Research: Building Knowledge and Innovative Solutions” is the theme for this regional conference.

Researchers from colleges and universities, state and federal agencies, private organizations, consulting firms, industry and students are invited to submit abstracts for consideration for oral and poster presentations.

Abstracts for basic and applied research papers are being solicited in all areas related to water resources including infrastructure, energy, monitoring, policy, supply, technology, water quality and others.

The conference combines exceptional educational programs with opportunities for researchers, policy makers, state and federal agencies, environmental consultants, private organizations and the public to share in the latest information, technologies and research relating to water resources in the Mid-Atlantic.

“Water science, unlike many fields, involves a wide range of disciplines including law, engineering, social sciences, policy, economics, chemistry and biology,” said Paul Ziemkiewicz, director of the West Virginia Water Research Institute.

“This conference is a great opportunity to bring practitioners together to build the knowledge base needed to effectively manage our most precious resource.”

The event is being hosted by the West Virginia Water Research Institute, University of Delaware Water Resources Center, Pennsylvania Center for Water Resources Research at Pennsylvania State University, and the Virginia Water Resources Research Center at Virginia Tech.

For more information about the 2017 Mid-Atlantic Water Resources Conference, including abstract submission details, please visit www.midatlanticwrc.org.

FY17 WVWRI & USGS 104b Request for Proposals

Written by Andrew Stacy on . Posted in Funding, News

Background

The West Virginia Water Research Institute is requesting proposals for research expected to be funded March 1, 2017 through February 28, 2018. The U.S. Geological Survey will sponsor the research. Faculty from all West Virginia colleges and universities are encouraged to submit proposals. It is expected that up to 4 projects will be funded at $10,000 each. The closing date is December 21, 2016.

Proposals are invited that enhance the Environmental STEM Research Program at the Boy Scouts of America’s Summit Bechtel Reserve in Mount Hope, West Virginia. Successful applicants will develop aspects of the proposed research into a curriculum that will be taught to Boy Scouts of varying ages, typically 12-20 years of age. Proposed research and activities should complement the current Environmental STEM Research Program at the BSA Bechtel Summit and fit into the framework already established. Research areas already established in the program include Ecohydrology, Wetland Ecology and Phenology.

Research topics of primary interest include stream recovery from mining operations and indicators of long term climatic trends.

Closing Date:

December 21, 2016

Eligibility Requirements

Eligible applicants are faculty members or affiliates at institutions of higher education in the State of West Virginia.

Ineligible applicants are the following:

    a. Applications for research on health effects involving human subjects.
    b. Applications for research involving oceanography (estuarine research applications are acceptable).
    c. Applications submitted by principal investigator(s) that have not met reporting requirements on a previous award by the USGS.

View and download the RFP by clicking the image below.

Pages from RFP USGS 104b program FY17