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.

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. 

WVU expert discusses electric vehicle maintenance on PBS “Motorweek”

“It’s so important that people understand that electric vehicles are just as safe as traditional vehicles, but have different maintenance requirements,” Smyth noted. “In many cases maintenance is much easier and maintenance costs are substantially lower for electric vehicles.”

The segment airs this Saturday (May 25) at 2:30 p.m. on West Virginia Public Broadcasting.  Dates and times may vary and viewers should consult their local listings.

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

MORGANTOWN, W.Va. -- Yesterday (May 14), 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 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.  

West Virginia Brownfields Assistance Center seeks grant applicants for FOCUS WV Program

The FOCUS WV Brownfields program helps communities create a redevelopment vision for brownfield properties of strategic community interest. Examples of activities eligible for funding include conducting environmental site assessments, developing project funding strategies, engaging project stakeholders, and procuring feasibility and design services.

Brownfields are abandoned or underutilized properties that have not been redeveloped due to real or perceived environmental barriers. Examples of brownfields include former gas stations, glass factories, machine shops, manufacturing and processing facilities, dry cleaners, mine scarred lands, abandoned schools and former railroad-related properties.

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.