Since November 15, 2010, Ed Mehnert has served as Technical Coordinator for the Illinois State Geological Survey (ISGS) in the FutureGen2 screening process. Mehnert has participated in four phone conferences with the Subsurface Technical Evaluators who need geological data for sites in Illinois. Mehnert is working with Rob Finley (a member of Subsurface Technical Evaluation team), Scott Frailey, Bryan Huff, Hannes Leetaru, Chris Korose, Pius Weibel, and Phil Jagucki (Soil Conservation Service). The Pacific Northwest National Lab is leading the screening process.
Lois Yoksoulian and William Roy at ISGS have begun initial experiments with organic-rich shale and high-pressure, high temperature vessels for a collaborative project with Dr. Sue Rimmer of the Department of Geological Sciences at Southern Illinois University-Carbondale. This study is being undertaken to observe the behavior of dispersed organic material (bituminite) in high-pressure, carbon dioxide (CO2)-rich environments within the New Albany Shale, one of the three identified low porosity/permeability seals located above the Mt. Simon Sandstone, a proposed CO2 storage reservoir in the central Illinois Basin. It has been shown experimentally that hydrocarbons can be dissolved and extracted from coal using supercritical CO2. The purpose of this project will be to determine whether conditions caused by CO2 sequestration activities will result in the dissolution of the bituminite in the New Albany shale.
In situ pressure, temperature, and formation water conditions of the New Albany Shale will be simulated within the vessels to match those of the Illinois Basin-Decatur Project. Analyses of total organic carbon, mineralogy, and maceral composition of the New Albany Shale will be performed before and after the pressure vessel experiments and results compared. The structure of bituminite is best described as an anastomosing network of organic material intrinsic to the cohesiveness of organic-rich shales. Because of this, the dissolution of this material may have an effect on the porosity and permeability of the rock. If the CO2-New Albany Shale interaction causes dissolution of the bituminite, the efficacy of the New Albany Shale as a seal should be carefully evaluated.
Conducting mitigation, validation, and accounting (MVA) efforts, Abbas Iranmanesh and Bracken Wimmer of the ISGS collected brine samples from oil production wells from the Mumford hills site (Griffin, Indiana). Fresh water samples from groundwater monitoring wells have been collected as well. Iranmanesh is reviewing the unified guidance "statistical analysis of groundwater monitoring data at RCRA facilities" provided by U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (March 2009). Concepts and statistical methods recommended by this guidance will be used to evaluate the groundwater monitoring data from compliance wells at the ADM site. This evaluation will be performed using recently purchased statistical software, "Sanitas version 9.1."