Geologic carbon sequestration in the Illinois Basin: Current activity and future possibilities

Edward Mehnert

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contribution


The Midwest Geologic Sequestration Consortium (MGSC) has demonstrated that carbon dioxide (CO2) can be safely and efficiently stored in the Mt. Simon Sandstone, which is the basal sandstone in the Illinois Basin. MGSC recently injected 1 million tonnes of CO2 into the Mt. Simon Sandstone to demonstrate geologic carbon sequestration (GCS) and is currently monitoring the injected CO2 and subsurface pressure. U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (USEPA) has issued permits for two additional, Class VI injection wells in Illinois - FutureGen 2.0 and Industrial Carbon Capture and Storage (ICCS). To evaluate the feasibility of future, commercial-scale, multi-site, geologic sequestration within the Illinois Basin, a flow and transport model has been developed and is currently being revised as new geologic and hydrogeologic data become available. Key issues to be addressed by this numerical modeling effort are the fate of the injected CO2, the fate of the native brine, the integrity of the injection formation and its caprock, and effects on other industries or stakeholders. Input data for the TOUGH2-MP simulator include a geologic model with three rock units - pre-Mt. Simon sandstone, Mt. Simon Sandstone, and Eau Claire (bottom to top). In these simulations, 100 million tonnes of CO2 are injected per year for a period of 50 years. TOUGH2-MP modeling results demonstrate that pressure fronts from adjacent injection wells will intersect and that the pressure fronts will extend many kilometers from the injection wells. However, the CO2 plumes will remain close to the injection wells and will not migrate vertically to the caprock for the scenarios studied. A simulation covering 5,000 years indicates that most of the injected CO2 will be trapped via residual saturation. Future directions to improve GCS modeling will also be discussed. To address the potential for affecting freshwater aquifers at the periphery of the basin, a method was developed for linking two flow models. This linkage will allow us to utilize information from a calibrated bedrock aquifer model. In addition, the goals of a new USDOE-funded, Energy Frontiers Research Center will discussed and its research plans will be described.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationAmerican Gas Association - 2015 Operations Conference and Biennial Exhibition, 2015 Operating Section Proceedings
PublisherAmerican Gas Association
Number of pages25
ISBN (Electronic)9781510809307
StatePublished - 2015
Event2015 AGA Operations Conference and Biennial Exhibition - Grapevine, United States
Duration: May 19 2015May 22 2015

Publication series

NameProceedings of the American Gas Association, Operating Section
ISSN (Print)0099-7250


Other2015 AGA Operations Conference and Biennial Exhibition
Country/TerritoryUnited States

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Energy Engineering and Power Technology


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