A wealth of geothermal resources led executives at Florida Canyon Mine in Pershing County to purchase two Green Machine power generators from Carson City-based ElectraTherm.
Joel Murphy, vice president of operations and general manager of Florida Canyon and Standard Mines, says the company has long sought to capitalize on the mine's existing geothermal resources. Florida Canyon Mine has four geothermal wells that pump water at 220 to 230 degrees that it uses for mine operations. However, the water must be pumped to a cooling pond before being used. Some of that water now will be used to drive ElectraTherm generators to supply supplemental power to the mine.
"It is something we have looked at here from the time the mine opened in '86," Murphy said. "We have the hot water source, so let's put some into play."
In addition to the cost of the machines, which are expected to produce about 0.5 to 1 percent of the mine's total energy requirements, Florida Canyon also invested in piping and switching gear to feed the power back into its system.
"It is a long-term investment, but it should pay for itself within a few years," Murphy said. "You have to look at the long term. It is not a lot of power up front, but we expect to expand. We will always have hot water.
"Mines are a huge power eater, and if you can take something like a geothermal source like we have and make a more viable and economic-friendly system, it is something we will do."
Florida Canyon also has looked at the feasibility of adding wind turbines to supplement its massive power usage.
"We have always considered ourselves on the front edge of trying to explore possibilities, especially with our geothermal water source," Murphy said.
Rob Emrich, vice president of sales with ElectraTherm, says the addition of the Green Machine power generators is a great fit for Florida Canyon because the mine already is pumping hot water.
"The Green Machine loves that condition; it is a natural plug-and-play," Emrich said.
ElectaTherm expects to make more sales in the mining industry in the future.
"There are so many mines out there that don't even realize this technology exists," Emrich said. "As this machine hits the field and gains traction, there will be many more placed."