Protecting drinking water by reducing uncertainties associated with geologic carbon sequestration in deep saline aquifers

Principal investigator: Dr. William Roy, Illinois State Geological Survey

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency funded a 3-year project entitled "Protecting Drinking Water by Reducing Uncertainties Associated with Geologic Carbon Sequestration in Deep Saline Aquifers" with a budget of $897,225. The Principal Investigator is Dr. W. Roy. The research team has members from the Illinois State Geological Survey (ISGS) and the Illinois State Water Survey (ISWS) which are both part of the Institute of Natural Resource Sustainability of the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, Stanford University, and the University of Hawai'i. Five research tasks will be conducted that will dovetail with an on-going U.S. Department of Energy DOE funded Phase III deep-saline CO2 sequestration demonstration project: the Illinois Basin-Decatur Project (IBDP).

Project goals:
Task 1 — Lead Scientist Dr. E. Mehnert, ISGS:
Improve understanding of natural gas storage field geology and the hydrodynamics of fluid flow within the Mt. Simon sandstone in the Illinois Basin. Fluid pressure data will be compiled for the storage formations at 10 natural gas storage fields to help define the baseline pressure in the Mt. Simon Sandstone in the Illinois Basin.

Task 2 — Lead Scientists Dr. S. Benson, Stanford University:
Test in-situ pressure monitoring for leak detection at the IBDP.

Task 3 — Lead Scientist Dr. Y. Lin, ISWS:
Refinement of a groundwater flow model (MODFLOW) to simulate the possible flow field based on the development of commercial-scale, geologic carbon sequestration within the Mt. Simon and to reduce the risk of groundwater contamination primarily from upgradient-brine migration within the Mt. Simon resulting from geologic carbon sequestration.

Task 4 — Lead Scientist Dr. W. Roy, ISGS:
Conduct geochemical investigations that will yield useful information on how carbon sequestration will change the chemical and mineralogical composition of the subsurface-injection system. The geochemical investigations will be conducted under laboratory conditions using high-pressure, high-temperature reaction vessels.

Task 5 — Lead Scientist S. Panno, ISGS:
Identify saline seeps and springs throughout the Illinois basin, compare their locations with those of known geologic structures, and chemically characterize water samples collected from water wells, and saline springs and seeps. This task will provide background information for assessing the impacts of sequestration on brine displacement.

For additional information:
Sam Panno
Illinois State Geological Survey
615 East Peabody Drive
Champaign, Illinois, 61820

Midwest Geological Sequestration Consortium
Midwest Geological Sequestration Consortium
Advanced Energy
Technology Initiative

University of Illinois
615 E. Peabody Dr.
Champaign, IL 61820