Study to see if abandoned mines can store electrical energy

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NEGAUNEE, Mich. (AP) - Michigan Technological University and a city in the Upper Peninsula are working together to determine if abandoned mines can be converted into storage for electrical energy.

The university and Negaunee are planning a pilot study of the Mather B Mine site.

Researchers hope to see if underground pumped hydroelectric storage could be profitably used in communities throughout the Lake Superior area. Marquette County has about 200 underground mine sites.

Electricity companies already use hydroelectric power in dams and river basins. The method generates energy when water stored at a high elevation flows down through a turbine.

Roman Sidortsov, an assistant professor of energy policy, says the revolutionary part of the study is placing that system underground.

The study is being funded by the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation.