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Geological Survey

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  • Leaves turn at Volo Bog Nature Preserve in the fall. Photo credit: Bill Batalden

    Groundwater experts help industries and nature preserves thrive

    ISGS and ISWS began monitoring the intersections between industry and the state-protected nature preserves in 1998, letting science and groundwater testing lead the way. Then-graduate student Randy Locke embarked on what was intended to be a two-year groundwater monitoring project; that project is now in its 24th year and has expanded to 414 dedicated nature preserves across 62,270 acres in Illinois.

  • Direct air capture system

    PRI tapped to lead feasibility studies for three regional Direct Air Capture (DAC) hubs

    This once-in-a-generation investment in infrastructure will support efforts to build a clean and equitable energy economy that achieves a zero-carbon energy system by 2035 and to put the United States on a path to strengthen energy prosperity and achieve net-zero emissions economy-wide by no later than 2050. 

    PRI is specifically tasked with executing feasibility and pre-feasibility studies of potential DAC Hub locations, ownership structures, business models, CO2 storage/utilization option(s), and technology partner(s) outlined in the following stage 1 of potential multi-stage projects in Illlinois, Colorado, and Florida.

  • Drilling for the geothermal exchange system at the U of I campus

    A geothermal exchange system on the U of I campus proves its benefits

    Last year, a multidisciplinary team of scientists and engineers helped build a geothermal exchange system to heat and cool a new building at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign (U of I), saving electrical usage and marking another step in the quest for a carbon-neutral campus. This type of heating and cooling system is also used successfully in homes, businesses, and industry, according to Illinois State Geological Survey (ISGS) scientist Andrew Stumpf.

  • power lines

    Three new DOE-funded PRI projects set to design energy storage systems for power plants

    It is challenging to integrate renewable resources into the distribution grid of fossil-fueled power plants when energy is most needed. The results are often intermittent and unpredictable, which makes it difficult to match energy demand with supply.

    In three new U.S. Department of Energy (DOE)-funded projects, scientists in the Prairie Research Institute will design systems and explore the feasibility of combining the use of renewable and fossil energy sources to ensure both short and long-term reliability in electric power delivery.

  • Direct air capture system

    PRI selected to lead feasibility studies for three Regional Direct Air Capture (DAC) Hubs

    PRI was selected to lead an effort to promote promising technologies that can capture carbon dioxide (CO2) from the atmosphere and store it underground at three different sites in Illinois, Colorado, and Florida. Read the full announcement from the Department of Energy (DOE) here.

  • Heidelberg Plant

    Multimillion-dollar project investigates potential CO2 storage at Heidelberg Materials’ cement plant in Mitchell, Indiana

    With $8.9 million in funding from the U.S. Department of Energy’s Carbon Transport and Storage CarbonSAFE Program, the Illinois State Geological Survey (ISGS), part of the Prairie Research Institute (PRI), is leading a two-year project to explore the feasibility of safely storing more than 50 million tons of carbon dioxide (CO2) over 30 years captured from the Heidelberg Materials cement plant in Mitchell, Indiana.

  • Sallie Greenberg

    Prairie Research Institute scientist to serve on White House task force on carbon capture and storage

    Sallie Greenberg, a principal research scientist at the Prairie Research Institute (PRI), has been selected as a member of one of the two new White House Council on Environmental Quality task forces to guide the development of carbon capture, utilization, and sequestration (CCUS) technologies in the United States. 

  • Hannes Leetaru

    Remembering Dr. Hannes Leetaru

    It is with immeasurable sadness that we share that Hannes Leetaru passed away on May 31st. "Hannes was perhaps the most committed scientist that I have encountered to the ideals, goals, and philosophy of what a geological survey embodies and the impact that it has on both the scientific community and the social community that it directly and positively impacts," said Dick Berg, State Geologist and Director of the Illinois State Geological Survey (ISGS).

  • ISGS research technician Katie Braun flies a drone over Lake Michigan, collecting data by mapping magnetic materials both above and buried beneath the surface. 

    Going beyond the surface

  • aerial view of silos

    DOE funds ISGS work on carbon storage

  • map of Central Illinois' Mahomet aquifer

    Mahomet Aquifer Protection Task Force issues recommendations

    A task force formed by the Illinois General Assembly to identify gaps in protection of the Mahomet Aquifer has issued its final recommendations. Illinois State Water Survey hydrologist George Roadcap served as a member of the task force, and other Prairie Research Institute scientists provided data and expertise to support the group’s yearlong effort.

  • SkyTEM helicopter

    A helicopter above Champaign County will explore an aquifer below ground

    Beginning on Nov. 19 and extending for a few weeks, Champaign County citizens will spot a curiosity flying in the sky above: a helicopter towing a large coil frame hanging from long cables. Helicopter flights are part of an Illinois State Geological Survey (ISGS) project to map and better understand the Mahomet aquifer within the county.

  • ISTC and ISWS Director Kevin OBrien with University of Illinois System President Timothy Killeen at City, Water, Light, and Power in Springfield, Illinois.

    Carbon capture collaborations lead clean energy drive

    The Prairie Research Institute — is leading a drive to implement CO2 removal strategies, an essential step to a clean-energy future. 

  • Buying a home in Illinois? You'll need PRI for that.

    For every Illinois home sold, the Prairie Research Institute provides data needed for banks, title companies, insurance companies, and consumers to make informed decisions about home ownership. 

  • man at injection well site

    ISGS combines innovation and expertise in carbon storage

    For almost 20 years, PRI’s geologists and engineers have been developing methods for the safe capture, storage, and utilization of CO2 from power plants and industrial operations. This has been in response to federal and state laws requiring reductions in CO2 emissions, as this byproduct of power generation has a direct link to atmospheric greenhouse gasses and climate change. 

  • rendering of the proposed innovative power plant

    DOE awards $25 million to PRI for design of innovative power plant

    The U.S. Department of Energy has awarded $25 million to a three-year project led by the Prairie Research Institute that will design a next-generation power plant in Springfield, Illinois. The innovative plant design combines multiple techniques to both reduce emissions and capture and re-use carbon dioxide.

  • four people stand at the Illinois Basin Decatur Project injection well

    Data from landmark Illinois Basin carbon storage project are now available

    The first-of-its-kind Illinois Basin – Decatur Project (IBDP), which concluded in 2021 after successfully demonstrating the safe geologic storage of carbon dioxide, is releasing data sets in two easily accessible locations.

  • Glasford crater in Peoria

    "It was a bad day for Peoria County about 450 million years ago."