Geocellular Model of Mt. Simon Sandstone for University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign DDU feasibility study


The geocellular model of the Mt. Simon Sandstone was constructed for the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign DDU feasibility study. Starting with the initial area of review (18.0 km by 18.1 km [11.2 miles by 11.3 miles]) the boundaries of the model were trimmed down to 9.7 km by 9.7 km (6 miles by 6 miles) to ensure that the model enclosed a large enough volume so that the cones of depression of both the production and injection wells would not interact with each other, while at the same time minimizing the number of cells to model to reduce computational time. The grid-cell size was set to 61.0 m by 61.0 m (200 feet by 200 feet) for 160 nodes in the X and Y directions. Within the model, 67 layers are represented that are parameterized with their sediment/rock properties and petrophysical data.

The top surface of the Mt. Simon Sandstone was provided by geologists working on the project, and the average thickness of the formation was taken from the geologic prospectus they provided. An average thickness of 762 m (2500 feet) was used for the Mt. Simon Sandstone, resulting in 60 layers for the model. Petrophysical data was taken from available rotary sidewall core data (Morrow et al., 2017). As geothermal properties (thermal conductivity, specific heat capacity) are closely related to mineralogy, specifically the percentage of quartz, available mineralogical data was assembled and used with published data of geothermal values to determine these properties (Waples and Waples, 2004; Robertson, 1988). The Mt. Simon Sandstone was divided into three separate units (lower, middle, upper) according to similar geothermal and petrophysical properties, and distributed according to available geophysical log data and prevailing interpretations of the depositional/diagenetic history (Freiburg et al. 2016). Petrophysical and geothermal properties were distributed through geostatistical means according to the associated distributions for each lithofacies. The formation temperature was calculated, based on data from continuous temperature geophysical log from a deep well drilled into the Precambrian basement at the nearby Illinois Basin Decatur Project (IBDP) where CO2 is currently being sequestered (Schlumberger, 2012). Salinity values used in the model were taken from regional studies of brine chemistry in the Mt. Simon Sandstone, including for the IBDP (e.g., Panno et al. 2018). After being reviewed by the project's geologists, the model was then passed onto the geological engineers to begin simulations of the geothermal reservoir and wellbores.

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Additional Info

DOE Project Name: Geothermal Heat Recovery Complex: Large-Scale, Deep Direct-Use System in a Low-Temperature Sedimentary Basin
DOE Project Number: EE0008106
DOE Project Lead: Arlene Anderson
DOI: 10.15121/1495417
Last Updated: over a year ago
Data from December, 2018
Submitted Jan 20, 2019


University of Illinois



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James Damico
University of Illinois


geothermal, energy, geocellular modeling, Mt. Simon Sandstone, Illinois Basin, DDU, Deep Direct-Use, 3-D, University of Illinois at Urbana Champaign, feasibility, characterization, Illinois, structural, geology, geologic, model, density, porosity, permeability, thermal conductivity, heat capacity, thickness, depth, St. Peter, thermal, hydrologic, mechanical, petrophisical, properties, 3D, reservoir


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