Rural Missouri - May 2012 - (Page 4)
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May 2012 Volume 64 / Number 5 Jim McCarty, editor firstname.lastname@example.org Jason Jenkins, managing editor email@example.com Heather Berry, associate editor firstname.lastname@example.org Kyle Spradley, field editor email@example.com Megan Schibi, editorial assistant firstname.lastname@example.org Mary Davis, production manager email@example.com Angie Jones Dusty Weter Co-op page designers
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photo courtesy of Associated Electric Cooperative
Missouri Department of Natural Resources geologist Mike Pate examines cuttings to determine what bedrock the drilling has reached at the carbon storage research project under way at the Thomas Hill Energy Center.
research project underway at Associated Electric Cooperative’s Thomas Hill Energy Center will go down to 600-million-year-old bedrock to find a possible solution for a future issue: storing greenhouse gases. An on-site drilling rig is boring through thousands of feet of soil and rock for the Missouri Carbon Sequestration Project, which began in 2008. At that time, Congress was pursuing carbon legislation and discussing carbon taxes and cap-and-trade proposals. Associated Electric Cooperative, which provides wholesale power to electric cooperatives in Missouri and parts of Iowa and Oklahoma, joined a research study in Missouri to find out how feasible it may be to store carbon dioxide from power plant emissions underground. The project initially involved site drilling, coring and geophysical logging at a City Utilities’ site in Springfield. However, water in the Reagan-Lamotte Sandstone Formation at that location proved to be drinkable, making it unsuitable as a potential injection reservoir for carbon dioxide. In 2011, the project team looked north in the state where the Lamotte Formation is deeper, thicker and larger, and the aquifer more saline (undrinkable). That’s why drilling has switched to Thomas Hill and will later be done at two sites at, or near, Kansas City Power & Light and Ameren Missouri power plants. David White, environmental analyst and registered professional geologist, is Associated’s liaison with the project’s other partners. Kim Dickerson, Associated’s environmental coordinator, is the power plant coordinator.
Deep drill rig searches for CO2 storage at Thomas Hill
Drilling began in late February and in the first few weeks reached 959 feet, White said. At 1,500 to 1,700 feet, a different type of drilling rig will be used to bring up core rock for analysis. Eventually, a tiny camera sent down the hole will capture additional data. Over the next four months, drilling likely will continue to 3,400 feet, well into bedrock dating to the Precambrian Era (more than 600 million years). This will be one of the deepest boreholes ever drilled in the state of Missouri. The core rock will be analyzed at research university labs to help determine if carbon dioxide can reliably be stored underground. “We’re looking at what the reservoir storage capacity will be. If it looks good in the labs, the next step will be to apply to the Department of Energy for funding to do a physical injection test,” White said. The food-grade carbon dioxide injected into the ground during such a test would validate the reservoir storage capacity and maximum sustainable injection rate. “The main thing in the Lamotte analysis is to see if it has the capacity for us to inject. If there’s not enough pore space, there won’t be enough space for carbon dioxide,” he added. Carbon sequestration and DOE-funded research projects around the country are exploring how existing coal plants can economically capture carbon dioxide at the stack. That research will dovetail nicely with experiments such as the Missouri Carbon Sequestration Project. When the technology exists to capture onsite carbon dioxide, ideally, there will be reservoirs underground to store it in. Perhaps Thomas Hill will have one of them.
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Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Rural Missouri - May 2012
Rural Missouri - May 2012
Table of Contents
Missouri snapshots contest
Curbing copper theft
Out of the Way Eats
The mandolin man
Knight for hire
Hearth and Home
The kid with the electric car
Rural Missouri - May 2012