ISGS Awarded Three-year Grant

Drill rig at the ISGS/ADM site The Illinois State Geological Survey (ISGS) and its research partners have received a three-year grant under the Integrated Design, Modeling, and Monitoring of Geologic Sequestration of Anthropogenic Carbon Dioxide to Safeguard Sources of Drinking Water research program (EPA-G2008-STAR-H1). The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (USEPA) awarded four grants under this program:

The proposal, Protecting Drinking Water by Reducing Uncertainties Associated with Geologic Carbon Sequestration in Deep Saline Aquifers, has five tasks designed to reduce the uncertainties related to geologic carbon sequestration in the Illinois Basin and other open basins. The project period is from November 2009 through November 2012. The budget is $897,225. The principal investigator is William Roy of the ISGS. The newly funded project will work in conjunction with the Midwest Geological Sequestration Consortium (MGSC) to collect samples and data from the injection and deep monitoring wells at the Illinois Basin – Decatur project site. The tasks are summarized below.

The first task involves the review of available hydrogeologic data from 10 natural gas storage fields completed in the Mt. Simon Sandstone in the Illinois Basin. These data will be vital to improving our understanding of the storage field geology and the hydrodynamics of fluid flow within the Mt. Simon Sandstone. (Technical leader: Edward Mehnert, ISGS)

For the second task, Stanford University researchers will evaluate vertical pressure profiles for monitoring CO2 and brine migration from the injection zone. This task will feature the use of the Westbay system, a modular monitoring platform that allows continuous monitoring of fluid pressure and discrete sampling of groundwater from multiple zones in a single borehole. (Technical Leader: Sally Benson, Stanford University).

For the third task, available regional flow and transport models will be enhanced to reduce risk. These models include a MODFLOW model for bedrock aquifers in northeastern Illinois and a dual-phase model of geologic carbon sequestration in the Mt. Simon Sandstone. At a minimum, the iterative use of these models will allow us to develop better boundary conditions for both models. Data mined in Task 1 should also enhance this effort. (Technical Leaders: Yu-Feng Lin, Illinois State Water Survey and Chittaranjan Ray, University of Hawaii)

For the fourth task, geochemical experiments will be conducted at elevated pressures and temperature to determine the type and kinetics of the reactions that are likely to take place between CO2, the Mt. Simon Sandstone, and the Eau Claire Shale caprock. New core samples (provided by the MGSC) and the brine samples collected in Task 2 will be used in this effort. Experimentally determined reaction products will be compared with those predicted by geochemical modeling. (Technical leader: William Roy, ISGS)

For the fifth task, ISGS geochemists have identified about 25 areas in the Illinois Basin where saline groundwater discharges from bedrock. We will collect samples and determine the rate of discharge at each location. Using chemical and isotopic signature techniques, the source formations for each spring and seep will be determined.