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News Article | March 3, 2017

CHOCTAW, OK, March 03, 2017-- Stephen Whitaker has been included in Marquis Who's Who. As in all Marquis Who's Who biographical volumes, individuals profiled are selected on the basis of current reference value. Factors such as position, noteworthy accomplishments, visibility, and prominence in a field are all taken into account during the selection process.Supported by more than four decades of invaluable contributions to oil and gas geology, Mr. Whitaker continues to build on his reputation for excellence through his new job as the president of Violent Energy, where he has been since 2017. He initially began his journey as a geological assistant for the U.S. Geological Survey, and subsequently joined companies like Texaco, the Illinois State Geological Survey, Apache Corp., IBEX Geological Consultant, Inc., and Rex Energy Corp. He also served on the board of directors for the Illinois Oil & Gas Association.Mr. Whitaker prepared for his endeavors by graduating from the University of Southern California and the University of Colorado with a Bachelor of Science and Master of Science in geology, respectively. A member of the American Association of Petroleum Geologists and the Illinois Geological Society, he has achieved much since then. He has encouraged oil exploration in Illinois through lectures, publications, and the development of exploration programs, and conducted geological analyses that led to the acquisition of key properties in the Eagle Ford trend of South Texas by Devon Energy. Furthermore, he has instructed others on the potential of Waulsortian mounds in Illinois, and completed geological analyses and mapping of upper-Devonian shales in the western Appalachian Basin.. Throughout his career, Mr. Whitaker has contributed his extensive industry knowledge into such creative works as "Silurian Pinnacle Distribution in Illinois: Model for Hydrocarbon Exploration," and "Fluvial-Estuarine Valley Fills at the Mississippian-Pennsylvanian Unconformity in Sandstone Petroleum Reservoirs." Since the mid-1990s, Mr. Whitaker has been featured in numerous additions of Who's Who in America, Who's Who in Science and Engineering, Who's Who in the Midwest, and Who's Who in the World.About Marquis Who's Who :Since 1899, when A. N. Marquis printed the First Edition of Who's Who in America , Marquis Who's Who has chronicled the lives of the most accomplished individuals and innovators from every significant field of endeavor, including politics, business, medicine, law, education, art, religion and entertainment. Today, Who's Who in America remains an essential biographical source for thousands of researchers, journalists, librarians and executive search firms around the world. Marquis publications may be visited at the official Marquis Who's Who website at

Hund G.,Pacific Northwest National Laboratory | Greenberg S.E.,Illinois State Geological Survey
Energy Procedia | Year: 2011

FutureGen, as originally planned, was to be the world's first coal-fueled, near-zero emissions power plant with fully integrated, 90% carbon capture and storage (CCS). From conception through siting and design, it enjoyed strong support from multiple stakeholder groups, which benefited the overall project. Understanding the stakeholder engagement process for this project provides valuable insights into the design of stakeholder programs for future CCS projects. FutureGen is one of few projects worldwide that used open competition for siting both the power plant and storage reservoir. Most site proposals were coordinated by State governments. It was unique in this and other respects relative to the site selection method used on other DOE-supported projects. At the time of site selection, FutureGen was the largest proposed facility designed to combine an integrated gasification combined cycle (IGCC) coal-fueled power plant with a CCS system. Stakeholder engagement by states and the industry consortium responsible for siting, designing, building, and operating the facility took place simultaneously and on parallel tracks. On one track were states spearheading state-wide site assessments to identify candidate sites that they wanted to propose for consideration. On the other track was a public-private partnership between an industry consortium of thirteen coal companies and electric utilities that comprised the FutureGen Alliance (Alliance) and the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE). The partnership was based on a cooperative agreement signed by both parties, which assigned the lead for siting to the Alliance. This paper describes the stakeholder engagement strategies used on both of these tracks and provides examples from the engagement process using the Illinois semi-finalist sites. © 2011 Published by Elsevier Ltd.

News Article | February 27, 2017

An invasive species of marsh grass that spreads, kudzu-like, throughout North American wetlands, may provide similar benefits to protected wetlands as native marsh grasses. According to new research from North Carolina State University, the invasive marsh grass's effects on carbon storage, erosion prevention and plant diversity in protected wetlands are neutral. The findings could impact management strategies aimed at eradicating the invasive grass. Phragmites australis, known as the common reed, is an invasive marsh grass that can spread at rates up to 15 feet per year. It thrives throughout North American wetlands, and studies have demonstrated that its densely packed growth pattern chokes out native marsh plants, thereby reducing plant diversity and habitat used by some threatened and endangered birds. However, other studies have shown that Phragmites may help reduce shoreline erosion in marshlands and store carbon at faster rates than native grasses. Since managing the threat is costly - in 2013, efforts to eradicate Phragmites cost about $4.5 million - Seth Theuerkauf, a Ph.D. candidate in marine, earth and atmospheric sciences at NC State, decided to look at how relative abundance of the marsh grass affected the ecosystem services that humans value from marshes, such as their ability to stabilize shorelines. Theuerkauf and his colleagues looked at impacts of Phragmites on marshes in two protected reserves within the northeastern portion of the North Carolina Coastal Reserve system. In particular, they wanted to compare ecosystem services - plant diversity, shoreline stabilization and carbon storage - between marshes with varying amounts of Phragmites: those with only native grasses, those with a mix of grasses and those with only Phragmites. The findings were encouraging. The team found no significant differences between ecosystem services of the marshes they studied, indicating that Phragmites' effect was largely neutral. However, Theuerkauf points out that the neutral effect could be due to the protected status of the wetlands they studied and the specific ecosystem services evaluated. "Studies that associate Phragmites with negative impacts on wetlands are often conducted in areas that have seen significant human interventions, such as shoreline development or construction of drainage canals, whereas our study was conducted in undisturbed marsh habitat within a protected reserve system," Theuerkauf says. "Our findings highlight the importance of maintaining protected reserves, as they may provide a strong defense against the negative impacts of invasive species and could reduce the time and money spent on trying to eradicate these species," adds Theuerkauf. "Additionally, our results suggest that Phragmites management efforts should also take ecosystem services into account." The research appears online in PLOS ONE. The work was funded in part by North Carolina Sea Grant and the North Carolina Coastal Reserve. Brandon Puckett, research coordinator for the North Carolina Coastal Reserve; NC State graduate student Kathrynlynn Theuerkauf; Ethan Theuerkauf, formerly of UNC-Chapel Hill's Institute of Marine Science and currently at Illinois State Geological Survey; and Dave Eggleston, professor of marine, earth and atmospheric sciences at NC State contributed to the work. Note to editors: An abstract of the paper follows "Density-dependent role of an invasive marsh grass, Phragmites australis, on ecosystem service provision" Invasive species can positively, neutrally, or negatively affect the provision of ecosystem services. The direction and magnitude of this effect can be a function of the invaders' density and the service(s) of interest. We assessed the density-dependent effect of an invasive marsh grass, Phragmites australis, on three ecosystem services (plant diversity and community structure, shoreline stabilization, and carbon storage) in two oligohaline marshes within the North Carolina Coastal Reserve and National Estuarine Research Reserve System (NCNERR), USA. Plant species richness was equivalent among low, medium and high Phragmites density plots, and overall plant community composition did not vary significantly by Phragmites density. Shoreline change was most negative (landward retreat) where Phragmites density was highest (- 0.40 ± 0.19 m yr-1 vs. -0.31 ± 0.10 for low density Phragmites) in the high energy marsh of Kitty Hawk Woods Reserve and most positive (soundward advance) where Phragmites density was highest (0.19 ± 0.05 m yr-1 vs. 0.12 ± 0.07 for low density Phragmites) in the lower energy marsh of Currituck Banks Reserve, although there was no significant effect of Phragmites density on shoreline change. In Currituck Banks, mean soil carbon content was approximately equivalent in cores extracted from low and high Phragmites density plots (23.23 ± 2.0 kg C m-3 vs. 22.81 ± 3.8). In Kitty Hawk Woods, mean soil carbon content was greater in low Phragmites density plots (36.63 ± 10.22 kg C m-3 ) than those with medium (13.99 ± 1.23 kg C m-3) or high density (21.61 ± 4.53 kg C m-3), but differences were not significant. These findings suggest an overall neutral density-dependent effect of Phragmites on three ecosystem services within two oligohaline marshes in different environmental settings within a protected reserve system. Moreover, the conceptual framework of this study can broadly inform an ecosystem services-based approach to invasive species management.

Grimley D.A.,Illinois State Geological Survey | Oches E.A.,Bentley University
Quaternary Geochronology | Year: 2015

Amino acid racemization (AAR) values measured in gastropod shells are demonstrated to be an important aid for correlations and chronology of fossiliferous loessal, lacustrine, and alluvial Pleistocene units in Illinois, central USA. Aspartic acid (Asx) and Glutamic acid (Glx) D/L values were analyzed on a total of 167 Succinea, Hendersonia, and Pomatiopsis shells from 9 geologic units, with clear stratigraphic relationships, at a total of 18 localities in central and southern Illinois. AAR data from Hendersonia and Succinea are less variable and more normally distributed than Pomatiopsis data, but the latter are locally useful for units lacking preferred genera. Based on analysis of variance tests, Asx- and Glx-D/L data can confidently distinguish among Wisconsin Episode (MIS 2-3), Illinois Episode (MIS 6), late pre-Illinois Episode (MIS 8-14), and early pre-Illinois Episode (MIS 20) deposits. Last glacial Peoria Silt (MIS 2) and Roxana Silt (MIS 3), have mean Asx-D/L values of 0.34-0.37 and 0.42-0.43, respectively, considering all genera. The Illinois Episode Petersburg Silt (150 ka) has Asx-D/L (x: 0.50-0.56) and Glx- D/L (x: 0.17-0.22) ratios that are statistically distinctive from other units. Three late pre-Illinois Episode units (Harkness Silt Member, Belgium Member, and Banner silt units) have similar Asx D/L values (x: 0.63-0.71) and, along with stratigraphic context, confirm extensive middle Pleistocene glaciations in the region. Using parabolic kinetic age models, depositional ages of 550-250 ka (MIS 14-8) are implied for these units, with a favored correlation with MIS 12 (450 ka), a time of especially high global ice volume. The Canteen member, a preglacial alluvium-colluvium below the Harkness Silt, is statistically indistinguishable from other pre-Illinois Episode units with AAR data, but was likely deposited during 660-480 ka (MIS 16 or 14), based on parabolic age estimates. The paleomagnetically reversed County Line silt (780-830 ka: MIS 20), with the highest mean AAR values, is the oldest known gastropod-bearing Pleistocene unit in Illinois. © 2014 Elsevier B.V.

O'Brien S.L.,University of Illinois at Chicago | O'Brien S.L.,Argonne National Laboratory | Jastrow J.D.,Argonne National Laboratory | Grimley D.A.,Illinois State Geological Survey | Gonzalez-Meler M.A.,University of Illinois at Chicago
Global Change Biology | Year: 2010

Revitalization of degraded landscapes may provide sinks for rising atmospheric CO2, especially in reconstructed prairies where substantial belowground productivity is coupled with large soil organic carbon (SOC) deficits after many decades of cultivation. The restoration process also provides opportunities to study the often-elusive factors that regulate soil processes. Although the precise mechanisms that govern the rate of SOC accrual are unclear, factors such as soil moisture or vegetation type may influence the net accrual rate by affecting the balance between organic matter inputs and decomposition. A resampling approach was used to assess the control that soil moisture and plant community type each exert on SOC and total nitrogen (TN) accumulation in restored grasslands. Five plots that varied in drainage were sampled at least four times over two decades to assess SOC, TN, and C4- and C3-derived C. We found that higher long-term soil moisture, characterized by low soil magnetic susceptibility, promoted SOC and TN accrual, with twice the SOC and three times the TN gain in seasonally saturated prairies compared with mesic prairies. Vegetation also influenced SOC and TN recovery, as accrual was faster in the prairies compared with C3-only grassland, and C4-derived C accrual correlated strongly to total SOC accrual but C3-C did not. High SOC accumulation at the surface (0-10 cm) combined with losses at depth (10-20 cm) suggested these soils are recovering the highly stratified profiles typical of remnant prairies. Our results suggest that local hydrology and plant community are critical drivers of SOC and TN recovery in restored grasslands. Because these factors and the way they affect SOC are susceptible to modification by climate change, we contend that predictions of the C-sequestration performance of restored grasslands must account for projected climatic changes on both soil moisture and the seasonal productivity of C4 and C3 plants. © 2009 Blackwell Publishing Ltd.

Leetaru H.E.,Illinois State Geological Survey | Freiburg J.T.,Illinois State Geological Survey
Greenhouse Gases: Science and Technology | Year: 2014

The Illinois Basin-Decatur Project (IBDP) is a large-scale carbon capture and storage (CCS) demonstration project managed by the Midwest Geologic Sequestration Consortium (MGSC). The IBDP is injecting 1 million tonnes of carbon dioxide in the Upper Cambrian Mt Simon Sandstone over three years at a rate of 1000 tonnes per day. The Mt Simon Sandstone can be subdivided into three major units with different geologic and diagenetic histories that have a profound effect on reservoir quality. At the IBDP site, the top of the Mt Simon Sandstone is overlain by 100 m (300 ft) of tight silt and shale in the Eau Claire Formation that forms the primary seal that prevents possible migration of CO2 into the overlying strata. Below the Mt Simon Sandstone is a Pre-Mt Simon interval that is characterized by its poor reservoir quality. The Pre-Cambrian basement at this site is composed of rhyolite. Three-dimensional seismic reflection data from the IBDP suggests that as much as 61 m (200 ft) of local Pre-Cambrian topographic relief is present in the study area. The Mt Simon Sandstone appears to thin over topographic high areas and thicken in the valleys. At the IBDP, the best reservoir quality rocks are in the lowermost Mt Simon Sandstone where the average porosity is 22% and permeability is 200 mD, respectively. Regional mapping suggests that these Lower Mt Simon reservoirs are widespread within a basin that is centered just slightly north of the Illinois Basin depocenter. © 2014 Society of Chemical Industry and John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.

Finley R.J.,Illinois State Geological Survey
Greenhouse Gases: Science and Technology | Year: 2014

The Illinois Basin-Decatur Project (IBDP) is being carried out by the Midwest Geological Sequestration Consortium (MGSC), led by the Illinois State Geological Survey (ISGS) at the University of Illinois. The MGSC is one of the US Department of Energy's Regional Carbon Sequestration Partnerships designed to evaluate the safety and effectiveness of geological storage of carbon dioxide (CO2) as a mitigation tool to address global climate change. The MGSC team includes the ISGS, Schlumberger Carbon Services, and the Archer Daniels Midland Company (ADM) of Decatur, Illinois. ADM operates an agricultural product processing facility in Decatur, Illinois, at which 1 million tonnes of carbon dioxide (CO2) derived from the production of fuel ethanol is captured and injected into a deep saline reservoir, the Mount Simon Sandstone, at a rate of 1000 tonnes/day. Injection began in November 2011 and is scheduled for completion in November 2014. The site was selected after extensive geological screening work throughout the Illinois Basin. The lower third of the Mount Simon Sandstone contains bedload fluvial deposits with excellent reservoir quality; capacity, injectivity, and containment are meeting expectations. The IBDP incorporates extensive subsurface and surface monitoring, which integrates the injection well, a deep monitoring well, a geophysical monitoring well, and numerous shallow groundwater wells and surface monitoring sites. Multiple disciplines in geology, reservoir engineering, geophysics, outreach and education, reservoir modeling, hydrology, geochemistry, basin analysis, seismology, data management, chemical engineering, facilities construction, and field operations have combined to make IBDP a viable project. © 2014 Society of Chemical Industry and John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.

Greenberg S.E.,Illinois State Geological Survey
Energy Procedia | Year: 2013

Around the world, research and validation of carbon capture and storage (CCS) technology is taking place through demonstration projects. Valuable experience in developing, implementing, and operating CCS projects is being gained. Knowledge shared from operating CCS projects is critical to understanding the technological aspects and non-technical implications of CCS. Utilizing experiences gained furthers best practices and facilitates commercial implementation of CCS by building capacity among scientists, project developers, and operators. The Illinois State Geological Survey (ISGS), in collaboration with the Midwest Geological Sequestration Consortium (MGSC), has created an international CCS capacity building and knowledge-sharing program in Champaign, Illinois USA. The Sequestration Training and Education Program (STEP) is funded by the U.S. Department of Energy to provide knowledge sharing and capacity building opportunities at all levels. STEP works to stimulate economic recovery and development by training personnel for work in conjunction with commercial CCS projects. Additionally, STEP works with national and international professional organizations and regional experts to leverage existing training opportunities and provide stand-alone training. STEP seeks to build capacity for CCS technology and knowledge sharing through quality educational experiences including regional, national and international exchange programs. STEP programs include knowledge sharing opportunities designed to further the understanding of the technical, political and societal concepts associated with CCS. STEP educational programs are built on the solid foundation of research being conducted through the ISGS and MGSC in the Midwestern region of the United States. Programs are based on providing hands-on learning experiences and information sharing on CCS, through project level experience gained through the MGSC Illinois Basin - Decatur Project (Decatur, Illinois USA), Illinois Industrial CCS Project (Decatur, Illinois USA), Taylorville Energy Center (Taylorville, Illinois USA), and others. This unique research collaboration allows for the creation of knowledge sharing and capacity building programs that draw on CCS experts with pilot-scale and demonstrationscale, project-specific experience to develop conferences, short courses, brown-bag lectures and workshops to meet diverse training needs. A key program focus for STEP is to ensure that the multiple disciplines required for successful CCS operations have an appreciation for the contributions required from experts in multiple facets of permit development, engineering, geology, geophysics, hydrology, drilling and completion, surface facilities development to ensure a successful project. The development of the STEP center, capacity building and knowledge sharing experiences, and collaborations will be discussed.

Chou C.-L.,Illinois State Geological Survey
International Journal of Coal Geology | Year: 2012

Geochemical studies of sulfur in coals comprise several major aspects relating to the nature and origin of sulfur in coals, including the abundance and distribution of sulfur in coal seams, abundance of sulfur in coal lithotypes and macerals, characteristics and geochemical significance of sulfur-containing organic compounds, sulfur isotopic studies relating to the sources of sulfur in coals, and sedimentary environments controlling the geochemistry of sulfur in coal. A review of the evidence suggests that the variation of sulfur in coals is closely related to the depositional environments of coal seams. For low-sulfur coal (<1% S), sulfur is derived primarily from parent plant material. For medium-sulfur (1 to <3% S) and high-sulfur (≥3% S) coals, there are two major sources of sulfur: 1) parent plant material, and 2) sulfate in seawater that flooded peat swamps. Abundances of sulfur in coal are largely controlled by the degree of seawater influence during peat accumulation and by postdepositional changes (diagenesis). In high-sulfur coals, seawater sulfate diffuses into the peat, which is subsequently reduced by bacteria into hydrogen sulfide, polysulfides, and elemental sulfur. Reaction of hydrogen sulfide with ferrous iron generates fine pyrite crystals and mackinawite [FeS 0.9]. Mackinawite reacts with elemental sulfur to converts to greigite [Fe 3S 4] and then to framboidal pyrite. The reduced sulfur species in the peat (hydrogen sulfide, elemental sulfur and polysulfides) react with the organic matter to form organic sulfur compounds. During coal diagenesis, nodular pyrite forms. Permineralized peat was formed during diagenesis which contains appreciable fraction of pyrite. After coal is solidified, pyrite can deposit in the cleats from circulating groundwater. Epigenetic pyrite veins may be deposited from basinal fluids. Thus, pyrite forms during various stages of coal formation from peat to coal, as well as late epigenetic activity.The relationships between sulfur abundance in coal seams and depositional environments of coals were reviewed for cases from the U.S., China, U.K., Germany, Hungary, Turkey, Indonesia, and Brazil. In most cases, low-sulfur coals formed in a fluvial environment and high-sulfur coals were deposited in seawater-influenced environments. There are exceptions. For example, Turkish lignites formed in freshwater environments are high-sulfur. Sulfur sources other than seawater are needed for these high-sulfur coals. The superhigh-organic-sulfur (SHOS) coals are highly enriched in organic sulfur but depleted in pyritic sulfur. The SHOS coals were deposited in sulfur-rich, iron-poor environments, such as carbonate platforms or in an iron-poor and clastic-starved environment in which algae accumulate. Speciation of organic sulfur compounds in coal appears to be related to coal rank; thiophenic compounds are more abundant in bituminous coal and anthracite than in low-rank coals. © 2012 Elsevier B.V.

Frailey S.M.,Illinois State Geological Survey | Damico J.,Illinois State Geological Survey | Leetaru H.E.,Illinois State Geological Survey
Energy Procedia | Year: 2011

The integration of open hole well log analyses, core analyses and pressure transient analyses was used for reservoir characterization of the Mt. Simon sandstone. Characterization of the injection interval provides the basis for a geologic model to support the baseline MVA model, specify pressure design requirements of surface equipment, develop completion strategies, estimate injection rates, and project the CO2 plume distribution.The Cambrian-age Mt. Simon Sandstone overlies the Precambrian granite basement of the Illinois Basin. The Mt. Simon is relatively thick formation exceeding 800 meters in some areas of the Illinois Basin. In the deeper part of the basin where sequestration is likely to occur at depths exceeding 1000 m, horizontal core permeability ranges from less than 1 × 10-12 cm 2 to greater than 1 × 10-8 cm2. Well log and core porosity can be up to 30% in the basal Mt. Simon reservoir. For modeling purposes, reservoir characterization includes absolute horizontal and vertical permeability, effective porosity, net and gross thickness, and depth. For horizontal permeability, log porosity was correlated with core. The core porosity-permeability correlation was improved by using grain size as an indication of pore throat size. After numerous attempts to identify an appropriate log signature, the calculated cementation exponent from Archie's porosity and resistivity relationships was used to identify which porosity-permeability correlation to apply and a permeability log was made. Due to the relatively large thickness of the Mt. Simon, vertical permeability is an important attribute to understand the distribution of CO2 when the injection interval is in the lower part of the unit. Only core analyses and specifically designed pressure transient tests can yield vertical permeability. Many reservoir flow models show that 500-800 m from the injection well most of the CO2 migrates upward depending on the magnitude of the vertical permeability and CO2 injection rate (CO2 velocity). Assigning a specific value of vertical permeability to model cells is dependent on the vertical height of the model cell. Measured vertical permeability on core is scale dependent, such that lower vertical permeability is expected over longer core lengths compared to smaller lengths. Consequently, a series of vertical permeability tests were conducted on whole core varying in lengths of samples from 7 cm to 30 cm that showed vertical perm could change by an order of magnitude over a 30 cm height. For one well, the results from a series of pressure transient tests over a perforated interval much smaller than the gross thickness (<2%) confirmed the core-log based geologic model for vertical and horizontal permeability. A partial penetration model was used to estimate the horizontal and vertical permeability over a portion of the modeled area using series and parallel flow averaging techniques. © 2011 Published by Elsevier Ltd.

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