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A dynamic temperature model of mine water-fed raceways used for microalgae biofuel production



The mining industry is an extremely high consumer of energy, much of which is sourced from fossil fuels. The industry also generates outflows of “waste” energy in discharged gas, air, and water streams. Both the dependence on, and the environmental impacts of, fossil fuels could be reduced by on-site energy recovery schemes that make use of both waste energy and the large tracts of the otherwise marginal or nonproductive land that mines sites create and occupy. One such possibility lies in the potential for on-site use of the warm mine water from dewatering in raceways to support microalgae growth for biodiesel production. Mines are, however, often located in remote regions that can experience a significant range in seasonal ambient temperatures. In this article, a model that can be used to estimate the dynamic impact of a wide range of annual climatic conditions on the temperature of a specific volume of mine water flowing along a microalgae raceway is reported. © 2010 American Institute of Chemical Engineers Environ Prog, 2010