ISGS - March 2007 Activity Highlights
ISGS - Home Page of the Illinois State Geological Survey
Several pictures form the 2007 ISGS Open House
Public Attends ISGS Open House
The Illinois State Geological Survey held its second annual open house, March 9 and 10, 2007. An estimated 2,000 people came to the Natural Resources Building in Champaign to learn about the Survey's research and service activities. Staff members presented more than 30 exhibits and interactive activities, including digging for fossils at the "Kids Fossil Dig," "Rocks, Minerals, Fossils, and Dinosaurs," "Fun with Liquids, Gases and Solids," "The Wonders of Carbon Dioxide," and "Illinois from Space." Invited exhibitors included the Illinois Petroleum Resource Board's traveling exhibit van displaying information about the oil and gas industry in IIlinois, and "Cave Rave," a walk-in cave exhibit created by the graduate students of the University of Illinois Geology Department. Friday's visitors included more than 800 students and teachers from as far away as Charleston. Families were prominent attendees among the steady flow of Saturday's visitors. The ISGS open house event was held concurrently with open houses hosted by the University's College of Agricultural Consumer and Environmental Sciences and the College of Engineering. (Contacts: Barb Frahm and Jon Goodwin)
The huff 'an' puff CO2 injection test, Loudon Field, Fayette County.
Carbon Sequestration Test Planned
The ISGS completed final preparations for a small-scale field test of enhanced oil recovery through carbon dioxide (CO2) injection at the Loudon Oil Field near St. Elmo in Fayette County. The "huff 'n' puff" test, slated for the week of March 19, will inject CO2 into a producing horizon of the oil reservoir, allow time for the CO2 to percolate into the reservoir, and then extract oil from the same well. Depending on the results of the first injection, a second injection test may follow. A total of up to 300 tons of CO2 may be injected at the site. Data gathered through this basic test will give a strong indication of the feasibility of enhancing the recovery of oil through CO2 injection in Illinois' many mature oil fields, and the amount of CO2 that could be successfully sequestered through enhanced oil recovery processes in Illinois. The study is being undertaken as part of Phase II of the Midwest Geological Sequestration Coalition's study of CO2 sequestration opportunities in the Illinois Basin. The data are expected to encourage the development of enhanced oil recovery projects using CO2 and the development of geological sequestration of CO2 to reduce emissions of greenhouse gases. (Contact: Rob Finley)
New Project to Address Critical Water Issues in Power and Energy Generation Industry
Thermoelectric power plants are the second largest user of water in the United States, ranking only slightly behind agricultural irrigation. Power plants fueled by coal and natural gas account for about 52% and 17% of the nation's electricity supply, respectively. The plants impose a high demand on the nation's water. The ISGS has initiated a new program to address critical water issues in the power generation industry. The initial goal is to develop a research and development path that will lead to identification of potential research priorities related to water usage and consumption in power and energy generation plants. Water issues from coal mining and cleaning, to transportation, coal utilization in different power generation plants, and byproducts utilization will be addressed. The project also aims to identify similar issues in plants powered by natural gas. Specific areas of interest are advanced cooling technology, water reuse and recovery technology, water treatment technology, and wastewater treatment technology. Ultimately, research areas will be identified that will lead to reduced power plant water usage and minimize potential water quality impacts in a cost-effective way. (Contact: Massoud Rostam-Abadi)
Preliminary sand distribution map, Bureau County
Preliminary Sand Map Completed for Bureau County
A preliminary map showing the distribution of wind-blown eolian sand and waterlain outwash sand in Bureau County has recently been completed. Sand and gravel deposits are widespread in northwestern Bureau County, the southern edge of the Green River Lowland, and are also found scattered throughout the rest of the county. They are largely the direct or indirect result of glacial process. Sand dunes formed by wind are prominent landforms in this county. These eolian landforms generally lie above outwash plains, moraines, and terraces. This unique geological setting provides an excellent opportunity to study sand from two different origins: wind-blown eolian sand and waterlain fluvial/glacial outwash sand. Previous differentiation of eolian and outwash sand was at the statewide scale, and this map gives much more detailed information at the county level, helping geologists to better understand the distribution of sand and gravel resources and eolian and glacial/fluvial processes.
Classification of the sand origins was determined using combined data from topography, parent materials of soil reported in the county soil survey, water and related well records, grain size. and carbonate content. For example, the distinct shape of parabolic dunes, shown by the shaded relief map of digital elevation model can be used to classify the area as eolian. Lobe-like sand above the Bloomington Morainic System is clearly eolian, because only eolian sand can climb up on a topographically high moraine. Sediments that contain gravel and are calcareous likely are not eolian in origin. (Contact: Xiaodong Miao)
Nanotechnology Applied to Power Plant Emissions
Since 1990, Survey staff members have been involved in developing and evaluating energy and environmental applications of carbon-based materials such as activated carbon and activated carbon fiber. In 2001, with a grant from the Electric Power Research Institute (EPRI) and collaboration with the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering at University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, a new project was initiated to explore the energy and environmental applications of single-walled carbon nanotubes (SWNTs). This research provided several major contributions to the understanding of these emerging carbon-based materials as adsorbents. The adsorptive characteristic of SWNT is of interest because this material could potentially be used to store hydrogen in future hydrogen-fueled vehicles.
First, scientists demonstrated that physical structure and adsorption properties of some as-produced SWNTs are not thermodynamically stable and change upon aging. Second, both by experiments and molecular simulations, the contributions of various sites of SWNT were shown to be boundless for gas adsorption. Third, scientists identified the mechanism of adsorption of mixture of water and several organic vapors on SWNTs. Fourth, the adsorptive properties of SWNTs were compared with those of activated carbon fibers for removal of environmentally relevant organic compounds from gas streams. Results from this research were published in several articles in highly referenced journals: three in Carbon, one in Langmuir, and one in Journal of Physical Chemistry B, and also were presented in more than 10 national and international conferences. The adsorptive characteristic of SWNT is of interest because this material could potentially be used to store hydrogen in future hydrogen-fueled vehicles.
The activities of the Survey and University in this area have been well recognized in the international nanoscience community. The ISGS scientist presented an invited plenary lecture at the Carbon Conference in Oviedo, Spain, in 2005; was a keynote speaker and workshop presenter at the First International Nanotechnology Conference in Tehran, Iran, in 2007; and has been invited to present a paper, "Characterization of Adsorption Properties of Single-Walled Carbon Nanotubes for Gas Storage and Purification" at the University of Illinois Center of Nano Science and Technology (CNST) Annual Nanotechnology Workshop May 3-4, 2007.
An ISGS graduate research assistant is helping the ISGS and University Environmental Engineering and Chemistry Department collaborators in the development and testing of nano-based carbon sorbents and membranes for gas separation and purification. (Contact: Massoud Rostam-Abadi)
Oceanography Debuts in Science Olympiad
The 2007 Science Olympiad Regional Competition for high school and middle school science students and was held at Urbana Middle School on Saturday, February 3, 2007. The competition included a session on oceanography for which the ISGS coastal geologist was an event supervisor. Although all the participating students were from east-central Illinois, the national inclusion of an oceanography event in the 2007 Olympiad allowed these east-central Illinois students to demonstrate their knowledge concerning tides, waves, and currents, ocean floor dynamics, and the chemistry of sea water. A total of eight Division B (middle school) and three Division C (high school) two-member teams participated in the oceanography competition. (Contact: Mike Chrzastowski)
Oil and Gas Records in High Demand
Demand requests for information and for well log copying services continue at a high rate in the Geological Records Unit (GRU). The increase in exploration and development activity also continues with an increase in petroleum well permits and completions. GRU staff members received much praise regarding their high quality of customer service from attendees at the Illinois Oil and Gas Association meeting held March 1 and 2, 2007. Work on the Illinois Petroleum Resources Board contract for scanning logs continues at a pace of approximately 1,000 scanned logs per week. Over 77,000 logs have been scanned to date and made available for viewing and download them from the ILOIL database hosted on the ISGS Web site. This database is a very popular feature and is used over 200 times daily. (Contact: Bev Seyler)
Updated 07/23/2012 SLD