The Evaluation of Geothermal Exchange as Energy Alternative @ UIUC

*** updates on 11/7/2016 ***
The 72-hour Thermal Response Test (TRT) was started at 5pm on Nov. 2 2016.  
The Wisconsin team will be able to remotely monitor the thermistor data from TRT device in real-time thanks to Tim's help on setting up the WiFi connection.
The DTS data was collected every minute for one hour and every 30 minutes before the TRT device was turned off on 5:11:40pm on Nov. 5 2016.
The DTS data was set to collected every minute for 16 hours and every 30 minutes for 56 hours during the recovery phase.  The data on the first 12 minutes were downloaded on site.
We found a problem in the morning of Nov. 6 due to the limit of our DTS device (Oryx).  The internal memory storage was smaller than expected, so it overwrite the first 2 hours of the data (17:23-19:30 on Nov. 5). This overwrite might also be minimized in the morning if there was a small time gap between every minute for stopping Oryx. The downloading time was too long which took 3 hours to get the 3250 data in the morning which cause another gap of the data.
*** updates on 11/1/2016 ***
Significant preparation work has been accomplished after the drilling completed in order to make the site ready for Thermal Response Test (TRT) with the Badget team.
There was a unbelieveable bargain for a perfect size shed at the Home Depot.  With a green light from the Energy Farm, we now have a very nice shed on site to call it a "station".
The ISGS generator trailer (120/240 volt) has been connected to the station with extremely efficient help from Energy Farm and F&S.
The connectors of the loop has been installed and tested with static water pressure initiated at 80PSI and stable at 75PSI without noticable leakage.
The FO-DTS has been configured with 4 channels on both ends of two FO cables for bother internal and external temperature measurement of the geothermal loop.  The configureations include a set of 4 single ends on 2 duplex routs and a set of two pairs on bdouble ends.  The set of 4 single ends on 2 duplex routs will be the preffered configuation since the signal loss from the splicing are incredibly low.
The TRT is scheduled to start around noon on November 2 and finished within 24 to 48 hours based on the performence.
Initial discussion with F&S includes how to move forward with plans for implementing geothermal on campus, such as gathering resources and expertise on identifying reasonable locations to consider geothermal for future campus buildings, based on the Campus Master Plan.  We certainly need more help and suggestion.
*** updates on 10/5/2016 ***
We have confirmed that both fiber optic cable are sending signals without any problem.  This is an indication that our installation is completely successful because of all of the hard works and prompt assistances. 
We are planning to construct a shlter with solar pannel for wireless transimission on DTS data.
The in-situ thermal test with Wisconsin is scheduled at the last week of October.
*** updates on 9/30/2016 ***
Our awesome drilling team take another attempt and officially made it at 320ft.
The geothermal pipe passed overnight leaking test by maintaining 40psi in the early morning.
External fiber-optic cable was tailored to 550ft.  The feet mark of 3161ft is at the bottom of the cable as 0ft point.
The 1st attempt of pipe/FO installation including 20ft PVC pipe to protect bottom external FO cable and 5ft PVC pipe to straighten bottom of geothermal pipe.  both 20ft and 5ft PVC pipes were connected by a coupling ring with a bolt.
The 1st attempt of pipe/FO installation was stuck at bedrock surface (190ft deep) due to coupling ring with a bolt, then the system was pulled out to surface for alternative solution.
The 2nd attempt of pipe/FO installation including 20ft PVC pipe to protect bottom external FO cable.  Previous 5ft PVC was removed.  The bottom of geothermal loop was bolt connected with the top of 20ft PVC pipe.
The 2nd attempt of pipe/FO installation was successful to the approximate depth of 317ft.  The exact depth will be measured after 2 days when grounding condition is stablized.
The well has been grouded.
Three ground samples from bottom, middle and top sections were collected for further geothermal property analysis.
Special thanks to the colleagues from ISGS to offer prompt help at the critical moment during the installation on site, no matter sunshine or shower!!!
*** updates on 9/29/2016 ***
We have completed the drilling at the depth of 319ft with a flatten drilling bit.
The assemble of geothermal pipe, protective tube and inner fiber-optic cable has been completed.
The inner fiber-optic cable has been sccuessfully tested.
The geothermal pipe is sealed with 52psi air for overnight leaking test.  No sign of leakage at two fusion coupling based on soap water test.
The 25 geothermal code samples have been delieved to Wisconsin team for further geothermal property analysis by the Geolab at UW-Madison.
The 294ft core samples have been delieved to geologists at the ISGS.
The preliminary data of geophysical logging have been released at:
*** updates on 9/28/2016 ***
The well has been reamed to 208 ft today.
The geothermal loop pipe has been tailored to 330ft with bottome u-band open.
The 700ft protective tube and 1200ft fiber-optic cable have been assembled inside the pipe.
The external fiber-optic cable has been shipped to the site.
The Illinois team and Wisconsin team have been working seamlessly!
Thanks to all of the visitors' help on-site!!
*** updates on 9/27/2016 ***
We reached 300ft right before noon today and started geophysics logging.  The cord sample collected to the depth of 293.8ft.
25 samples have been collected for geothermal property analysis in Wisconsin.
The geothermal loop has been laid down on the ground in order to make it straight for assembling process.
*** updates on 9/26/2016 ***
Like typical Pennsylvania formation, we have found repeating materials to the depth of 290ft today.  The current plan is to drill to 300 ft tomorrow then follwed by geophysics logging.
We have our fusion kit on site today, so we will practice on loop fusion process on Tuesday.
*** updates on 9/23/2016 ***
We advanced to 269.9 ft today with somehow complicated geology shown in the latest photo including limestone, shale, weathered shale, coal and might be sandstone too.  We certainly need to show the samples to our bedrock geologists in order to know more about the sample.  The sample between 259.9 and 269.9 is not only complicated but also fragile, so we rather not to take pack any sample for geothermal analysis before the bedrock geologists have studied them.  Hopefully we will have some answers next week.
We are planning to keep drilling on Monday (9/26), GP logging on Tuesday and ream the hole on Wednesday.  The Wisconsin team will arrive Champaign on Tuesday night and working with us on loop/FO assembling and installation on Wednesday and Thursday.  We are sorry to hear that one of our key member in Wisconsin team had to take a knee surgery yesterday and won't be able to join us next week.  Best wishes to him and hope to see him starts hoping and jumping soon.
I have done my ACES and Energy Farm safety trainings today, have you?  Have a nice weekend!
*** updates on 9/22/2016 ***
Guess what we found today?  Miners Dollars - Pyrite in another coal seam at 236-238 ft depth.  Please check out the photos at:
We will stop at 255ft at 5:30pm today.  We have asked our project sponsor for additional funds to extend our drilling activities, and hope to hear the decision very soon.
We have finalized the agreement with HD Supply in Indianapolis for the rental of the Processor EF Strongbridge Kit.  Steve S. will pick up this equipment on Monday morning so we will have it on site on Monday afternoon.
We plan to keep drilling on Friday or maybe another extra day till we reach 300ft for GP logging, then go deeper to 320-330ft without coring.
Althought the drilling days are longer than expected, we will proceed the loop and OF cable assembling on 9/27 as the original schedule.  So we are very excited to welcome the UW team on Monday evening and start this task on Tuesday morning.  Badgers, make sure you will be hungry for a great dinner in Champaign on Monday.  
EXTRA: The sponsor (Student Sustainability Committee) has just promptly granted our additional funding request this evening to extend our drilling task with the objective of drilling, core sampling and geophysical logging.  We are so grateful to work with such supportive sponsor and proud to have students with great vision on making the world better.  This is certainly very encouraging to our team to move forward with good progress.
*** updates on 9/21/2016 ***
It has been a very interesting day with many turns.  We reached 232 ft dpeth today and collected samples on limestone, shale, siltstone, coal and more shale.  It was a pleasure to have many bedrock experts like Scott E., Zak, L., Chris K. and John N. to help us to understand what we have been going through and foresee what might be ahead of us.  According to John N., it looks like we have the Herrin Coal overlain by black Anna Shale and Brereton Limestone. So, unless we crossed a thrust fault, that rock we thought earlier was “Borden” is younger Pennsylvanian (perhaps Bankston Fork Limestone).  We have collect 18 samles for geothermal property analysis for the UW team.  We are still plan to keep coring to 300-330 ft which means we need 1-2 extra drilling days than original plan.  We are currently looking for resources to support this extra effort to maximum the benefit of this research project.
We might need to ask UW team to join us on Sep. 28 or 29 instead of Sep. 27 due to this new development.  The exact date will be determined on Friday (Sep. 23).
Please remember to check new photos, videos and boring log on box folder, as well as the safety training.
*** updates on 9/20/2016 ***
Drilling reached limestone bedrock at the depth of 190 ft around 8:45am.  The bedrock surface is shallower than expected (it is 240ft deep one block away at Lincoln and Windsor).
Drilling penertarted limestone and reach 0.5 ft of shale at the depth of 205ft around 5pm.
We are still waiting for finalizing the agreement with HD Supply in Indianapolis for the rental of the Processor EF Strongbridge Kit which is the fusion device for connecting loops.  We expect the agreement will be in place this week.
New photo and video files are available at:
Fun factors: Justin found an owl at the site in the morning and the drilling crew tried bubble tea for the first time!
*** updates on 9/19/2016 ***
Drilling started at 7:30am as scheduled
Cord sampling started at 8:45am including one moisture content sample and two thermal property samples (UW and UIUC)
Reach depth of 180ft at 4:40pm on the sandy silt material, will contiunue tomorrow.
Since this blog is limited on posting PDF file and photo size, our boring log and photos are avialble at:
Please let me know if you have problem to access this folder.
Please see an important message for all team members at UIUC and UW as the following from Tim, the Energy Farm manager:
Below is the link to the safety training program we have for the Energy Farm / ACES South Farms.  The first one is a general course for ACES, and the second specific to the Energy Farm.If you wouldn't mind going through items 1 and 2, and please give me your feedback.  It will not all be applicable, but should give a broad overview. 
If we go with this, anyone taking will need to have a NetID.  If they are from another institution, we can request a temporary NetID so they can complete this.  Just send me their information (name, institution/affilation).
*** Schedule updates on 9/17/2016 ***
1.      The week of Sep. 12 is the preparation week.
2.      All logistics (e.g., JULIE and F&S pipe map) and supplies to be ready by Sep. 16.
3.      We will start drilling and collecting on Sep. 19 if weather permits.
4.      The geophysics  logging will be on Sep. 23, and cord samples will be ready for Wisconsin team by Sep. 29.
5.      The well will be widen and clean on Sep. 26.
6.      The geothermal loop and fiber-optic cables will be assembled in- situ and installed in the well with Wisconsin team on Sep. 27-29 (and 30 if necessary).
7.      The initial DTS test on Sep. 29 or 30.
8.      In four weeks later, we will have the first in-situ geothermal test in the week of Oct. 24.
The drilling location is near the corner of Curtis and Race (Lat:40.066210, Long:-88.207612) at the UIUC Energy Farm. Visitors are welcome on tasks 3-8.  The abstract of this project is available at:
Yu-Feng Forrest Lin