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FutureGen 2.0 site “suitable” for carbon storage

The FutureGen Alliance completed drilling for the characterization well at the FutureGen 2.0 carbon dioxide (CO2) storage site in Morgan County, Ill., and that preliminary data indicates that the local Illinois geology is suitable for CO2 storage.

The Alliance said the drilling team reached the final depth of 4,812 feet below the ground surface. In drilling the well, the geologists recorded a 460-foot thick Eau Claire formation that will form the caprock overlaying a 500-foot thick portion of the Mt. Simon sandstone that forms the potential CO2 storage reservoir. Over the next few weeks, data collected from the well—including caprock and reservoir rock core samples that were collected during the drilling process —will undergo further geologic testing to confirm the geology for CO2 storage, but initial findings are positive.

With the drilling complete, the drill rig will be removed from the characterization well site and a smaller service rig will be installed over the well head in January 2012 in order to conduct hydrologic testing. During hydrologic testing, the Mt. Simon sandstone will be tested by removing and then re-injecting the saline water from the sandstone while monitoring the formation’s response. Results from this type of testing will provide important parameters that will be used in designing the CO2 storage site. Once the hydrologic testing is complete, the well will beconfigured as a monitoring well that will be used in future phases of the project.  The Alliance will restore to productive farmland all but a 175-square foot area around the well head by removing equipment and berms and replacing top soil.

The FutureGen 2.0 involves upgrading the Meredosia Energy Center’s Unit 4 with oxy-combustion technology to capture approximately 90 percent of the plant’s carbon emissions. Using pipeline technology, the CO2 would be transported and permanently stored underground at a nearby storage site.

The FutureGen 2.0 program is supported by a $1 billion commitment in federal funding from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act.

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