Several Requests Received for Limestone Information

Zak Lasemi responded to a number of requests regarding high-calcium limestone resources in Illinois. Lasemi, Massoud Rostam-Abadi, and Yongqi Lu also met with representatives from a major lime company to discuss high-calcium limestone resources and the reactivities of various limestones; the high-calcium limestone is sought for use in desulfurization in existing and potential coal-burning power plants. Limestone also may be used to capture a significant amount of mercury during the scrubbing process. As a result, there has been a great deal of interest in obtaining geological information about high-calcium limestone resources in central Illinois. Although Pennsylvanian age limestones are mined in a number of quarries in central Illinois, the limestone beds are relatively thin, and production barely meets the demand for road construction limestone. Agricultural limestone also is produced in these quarries as by-product fines during the crushing of limestone that could be suitable for desulfurization. Nevertheless, in 2007, quarries could barely meet increasing demands for agricultural limestone by the farming industry in central Illinois. Exploration of the availability of high-quality limestone in the south and southwestern parts of the state is extensive. As part of ongoing ISGS projects, maps are being developed to show the distribution of high-calcium limestone resources in Illinois. Another project, currently funded by the Illinois Clean Coal Institute, is investigating the suitability of limestone fines (agricultural lime) from quarries as a source of sorbent for desulfurization in coal-fired power plants.