Two St. Catharines natives are part of winning teams in this year’s MINED Open Innovation Challenge, offered by the Ontario Mining Association to mining and engineering students.
Adam Grinbergs and Sarah Bulanda, Laurentian University students, are members of the first and second place teams, respectively. The program tasked engineering students to come up with solutions to hypothetical mining problems.
Their case study presented them with the challenge of cooling down underground mines. Grinbergs’ team came up with a concept called Deep Water Cooling, in which cool water from the bottom of the Great Lakes is pumped into the mine and misted into the air. Grinbergs says the process of cooling deep mines is essential, with temperatures in mines rising an average of 1 degree Celsius per 100 metres depth.
“It can be pretty bad if it’s a nice hot day and it’s 30 degrees and you decide to pump some air underground because of ventilation requirements, and the air reaches the bottom of the shaft at 55 degrees Celcius, miners will begin to ‘fill out their forms,” says Grinbergs.
He says water picks up much less heat than air as it travels through the pipes to the bottom of the mines. But getting the water down there presented another problem.
“There’s an obvious concern about how much energy it’s going to take to pump, because this water, after you’ve sprayed it, you can probably use it for drills and stuff like that, but you can use it for anymore cooling purposes because this water is now warm.”
Grinbergs says his team developed a way to use the water as a form of energy.
“You have to pump that water back up into the lake. But on the way down there are these turbines the water goes through which actually reduce the pressure of the water as it’s going down, which recover that energy.”
He says that will allow mines to use about 80 per cent of the energy from the down flow of water to help pump it back up. Grinbergs’ team received $15,000 as a their first-place prize. Bulanda’s team won $10,000 but also took home the audience choice award of $5,000.
The winning teams were also invited to the 2017 Ideacity Conference, an annual meeting of some of the top minds in Canada. Grinbergs says a lot of his portion of the money will be going towards paying back OSAP and rent for schooling.
Grinbergs and Bulanda are both fourth year Mining and Engineering students at Laurentian.
For the original source of this article, click here: http://www.thesudburystar.com/2017/06/24/laurentian-students-making-a-name-in-mining