Community Corner Archive
June 15, 2012
While field work at the FutureGen geologic characterization well wrapped up in December, a buzz of activity continues in multiple scientific laboratories studying the rocks and field test results to confirm the geologic integrity of the proposed CO2 storage site.
In early May, FutureGen Alliance CEO Ken Humphreys and lead geologist Dr. Tyler Gilmore had an opportunity to share the initial characterization results with the FutureGen Citizens’ Board at a meeting in Jacksonville. The purpose of the Citizens’ Board is to provide one of several mechanisms to share information about the project with the community and receive questions and input from the community.
Tyler Gilmore reported that the well drilling was finished in mid-December and noted that it is one of the deepest wells ever drilled in Morgan County. The deep rock formations were tested in January and February to determine their suitability for storing the CO2. The intended geologic formation, the Mt. Simon Sandstone, which will act as the CO2 storage reservoir is between 3800 and 4500 feet below the land surface. Above the storage reservoir is an overlying cap rock that is about 400 feet thick, which aids in containment of the CO2.
Geologic characterization tests were conducted to understand the porosity of the rock. Porosity is a measure of the void space between the sand grains in the rock. The tests also examined the reservoir’s permeability, which is a measure of how well these void spaces are connected together. This allows the geologists to determine how the CO2 will move into the pore space and be stored in the rock. Additionally, the impermeability of the overlying Eau Clare cap rock was evaluated for its ability to hold the CO2 in place. Finally, the team conducted hydrologic testing, which included extracting the naturally occurring saline water from the formation, then re-injecting that same water and measuring the response of the rock formations. This testing is a good way to understand how the formation will respond when CO2 is injected into the formation. The results from all the testing were positive and the site would make a good CO2 reservoir. The characterization well will be used as a monitoring well in future phases of the project.
The Alliance is close to completing the signing on options to buy subsurface storage rights from local landowners. Preliminary geologic and legal analysis suggests that the Alliance has sufficient rights; however, the Alliance hopes to acquire subsurface storage rights for a few additional parcels as it would provide storage site design flexibility and assist in locating injection and monitoring wells in the most unobtrusive locations.
Meredosia power plant
Discussions with Ameren regarding the purchase of the necessary components of the Meredosia Energy Center have proceeded very favorably. Ameren continues to support FutureGen 2.0 by maintaining the plant in a retrofit-ready condition. A public announcement on the final purchase arrangements for the plant is expected this summer.
Pipeline route to be announced
The Alliance plans to finalize the proposed pipeline route early this summer. Once the route is known, the law requires that an official letter be sent to all landowners along the pipeline. The letter will describe the process of evaluating landowners’ land and compensating them appropriately. The compensation will be comparable to that offered on another, recent pipeline project that passed through the county. By law, the Alliance cannot contact landowners along the route prior to this official letter. However, after that time the Alliance is committed to communicating with the Morgan County community about pipeline activities, and Alliance public involvement staff will be available to talk with landowners, take questions and make sure they receive accurate and timely answers.
Weather station installed
A weather station was installed near Beilschmidt road. The weather station will provide baseline measurements of weather parameters near the proposed storage site. Measurements taken at the site will include levels of naturally occurring CO2, wind speed and direction, temperature, humidity, solar radiation, precipitation, barometric pressure and soil moisture and temperature. In the near future, the weather station will feed data directly to the FutureGen website so that farmers and other interested people can have an additional source for up-to-date information on the local weather, including soil moisture and soil temperature.