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Rare earth elements from coal mining could boost Appalachian region

When asked if the old coal mine is now like a potential gold mine because of rare earth elements, Dr. Paul Ziemkiewicz, professor and director of the West Virginia Water Research Institute at WVU, responded, “That’s a nice way of putting it.”

“The red phosphor in your television screen, for example, is europium. That’s a rare earth element,” said Dr. Ziemkiewicz.

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Student opportunities at the annual Shale Insight Conference

The Marcellus Shale Coalition consists of essentially all the companies involved in the shale gas industry.  It is holding its annual Shale Insight conference in October in Pittsburgh and welcomes student participation. This is a good opportunity for faculty to become familiar with the industry and for students to meet potential employers. Skills that are in demand include not only petroleum engineering and geology but GIS, remediation, ecological assessment. Students participation is particularly encouraged in the Technology Showcase and Student University Research Showcase sessions.

Find more information here: https://shaleinsight.com/

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WVU researchers thirsty for reducing fresh water use by power plants

Power plants across the country utilize more than four times as much water as all U.S. homes and account for 41 percent of total water withdrawals, according to federal data. 

Now, with the aid of a $400,000-Department of Energy grant, West Virginia University researchers are seeking ways to quench the thirst of the nation’s power plants in a more cost-effective, environmentally-friendly fashion. 

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Ziemkiewicz briefs Congressional committee on extracting rare earth elements from acid mine drainage

Paul Ziemkiewicz , director of the Water Research Institute at West Virginia University’s Energy Institute, testified before the U.S. Senate Committee on Energy and Natural Resources Tuesday, May 14, on recent research advances on the development of a domestic source of rare earth elements.

RREs, the minerals that make electronic devices work, are essential to the economy and national security.  Currently, the primary source of these minerals worldwide is China.  

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WVU Art Exhibit Celebrates Water and the Women Who Protect It

A collaborative art exhibit at West Virginia University focuses on one of the state’s most abundant resources -- water. It also celebrates the many women who protect it. 

 Featuring brightly colored panels covering wide swaths of the downtown campus library’s walls, “WATER: Exploring the Significance, Power and Play of Life’s Critical Resource” explores the state’s rivers and wetland ecosystems, celebrates the art and recreation opportunities afforded by water, and explores challenges and solutions facing the state’s water resources. 

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WVU water experts warn: when it rains, polluted mine drainage can pour

MORGANTOWN, W.Va. – February has been exceptionally wet, dumping more than one-and-three-quarters-inches greater-than-average rainfall during what is normally the driest month of the year, according to  The Weather Channel. Unusually wet weather is a recipe for mine drainage overflows that can pollute nearby streams, warned  Dr. Paul Ziemkiewicz, director of the  West Virginia Water Research Institute at  West Virginia University. Expect abandoned mines’ treatment systems to clog and fail or the mines themselves to blow out during the spring, he said.

Recent news by the Associated Press has drawn attention to the “50M gallons of polluted water [that] pours daily from 42 mine sites” in western states. 

Read Full Article: WVU water experts warn: when it rains, polluted mine drainage can pour