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Geochemistry  

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Geochemistry of Energy Fuels Project

Since its establishment in 1879, USGS geoscientists have investigated the geochemistry of energy resources. Research conducted in the Geochemistry of Energy Fuels project continues this tradition. Goals include 1) understanding the geologic, geochemical, microbiological, and other factors that control production, quality, and composition of coal, petroleum, and nuclear fuels, and 2) predicting the...
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Geochemistry of Energy Fuels Project

Since its establishment in 1879, USGS geoscientists have investigated the geochemistry of energy resources. Research conducted in the Geochemistry of Energy Fuels project continues this tradition. Goals include 1) understanding the geologic, geochemical, microbiological, and other factors that control production, quality, and composition of coal, petroleum, and nuclear fuels, and 2) predicting the...
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Utilization of Carbon and other Energy Gases - Geologic Research and Assessments

Carbon Dioxide (CO2) is utilized by industry to enhance oil recovery. Subsurface CO2 storage could significantly impact reduction of CO2 emissions to the atmosphere, but the economics and potential risks associated with the practice must be understood before implementing extensive programs or regulations. Utilization of other energy-related gases such as helium (He), if separated and concentrated...
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Utilization of Carbon and other Energy Gases - Geologic Research and Assessments

Carbon Dioxide (CO2) is utilized by industry to enhance oil recovery. Subsurface CO2 storage could significantly impact reduction of CO2 emissions to the atmosphere, but the economics and potential risks associated with the practice must be understood before implementing extensive programs or regulations. Utilization of other energy-related gases such as helium (He), if separated and concentrated...
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Geochemistry of Energy Fuels Task

Geologic and geochemical processes that impact fuel quality, quantity, and availability can be best understood by utilizing a range of approaches, including, but not limited to isotopic signatures, inorganic and organic analyses, and neutron scattering techniques. Current work focuses on using neutron scattering to understand how fluids are stored and flow through tight continuous reservoirs and...
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Geochemistry of Energy Fuels Task

Geologic and geochemical processes that impact fuel quality, quantity, and availability can be best understood by utilizing a range of approaches, including, but not limited to isotopic signatures, inorganic and organic analyses, and neutron scattering techniques. Current work focuses on using neutron scattering to understand how fluids are stored and flow through tight continuous reservoirs and...
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Vitrinite Reflectance Service

Vitrinite reflectance is regarded as the gold standard thermal maturity parameter and vitrinite reflectance data is needed for energy resource assessment and other types of basin analysis studies. This effort provides vitrinite reflectance and qualitative organic petrography of shale, mudrock, coal and other unconventional reservoir samples as a routine in-house service, from the Organic Petrology...
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Vitrinite Reflectance Service

Vitrinite reflectance is regarded as the gold standard thermal maturity parameter and vitrinite reflectance data is needed for energy resource assessment and other types of basin analysis studies. This effort provides vitrinite reflectance and qualitative organic petrography of shale, mudrock, coal and other unconventional reservoir samples as a routine in-house service, from the Organic Petrology...
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Thermal Indices Innovation

Thermal indices innovation utilizes correlative microscopy techniques for innovative approaches to thermal indices development, including confocal laser scanning microscopy (CLSM), AFM-IR (combined atomic force and infrared microscopy), atomic force microscopy (AFM), and SEM of Argon ion-milled sample surfaces combined with traditional organic petrography. The innovation task also is testing...
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Thermal Indices Innovation

Thermal indices innovation utilizes correlative microscopy techniques for innovative approaches to thermal indices development, including confocal laser scanning microscopy (CLSM), AFM-IR (combined atomic force and infrared microscopy), atomic force microscopy (AFM), and SEM of Argon ion-milled sample surfaces combined with traditional organic petrography. The innovation task also is testing...
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Hydrous Pyrolysis and Kerogen Conversion

This work is directed at understanding the kinetics of vitrinite and solid bitumen maturation through hydrous pyrolysis experiments, potentially enabling a direct methodology to detect ‘vitrinite reflectance suppression,’ a commonly reported problem in the early- to mid-oil window. This task also examines the molecular chemistry of kerogen conversion to petroleum via in situ chemical probing by...
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Hydrous Pyrolysis and Kerogen Conversion

This work is directed at understanding the kinetics of vitrinite and solid bitumen maturation through hydrous pyrolysis experiments, potentially enabling a direct methodology to detect ‘vitrinite reflectance suppression,’ a commonly reported problem in the early- to mid-oil window. This task also examines the molecular chemistry of kerogen conversion to petroleum via in situ chemical probing by...
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Standardization of Petrographic Measurements

Advent of the ‘shale revolution’ since about 2005 has caused increased demand for reliable petrographic measurements of thermal maturity in shale via vitrinite reflectance, long considered the ‘gold standard’ approach. A standardized methodology for organic reflectance measurement in shale first became available in 2011 (ASTM D7708), based on prior work by task members. However, interlaboratory...
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Standardization of Petrographic Measurements

Advent of the ‘shale revolution’ since about 2005 has caused increased demand for reliable petrographic measurements of thermal maturity in shale via vitrinite reflectance, long considered the ‘gold standard’ approach. A standardized methodology for organic reflectance measurement in shale first became available in 2011 (ASTM D7708), based on prior work by task members. However, interlaboratory...
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Molecular Fingerprinting of Energy Materials

The chemical composition of complex solid organic matter (OM) from sedimentary reservoirs is a key parameter in the generation of hydrocarbon fuels. Vibrational spectroscopies such as Fourier transform infrared (FTIR) and Raman have been widely applied to understand the molecular make-up of these hydrocarbon precursors, as well as provide links to their thermal histories via correlation to proven...
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Molecular Fingerprinting of Energy Materials

The chemical composition of complex solid organic matter (OM) from sedimentary reservoirs is a key parameter in the generation of hydrocarbon fuels. Vibrational spectroscopies such as Fourier transform infrared (FTIR) and Raman have been widely applied to understand the molecular make-up of these hydrocarbon precursors, as well as provide links to their thermal histories via correlation to proven...
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NORM Byproducts of Energy Resources

Naturally Occurring Radioactive Material (NORM) is found in waste produced during the extraction of uranium, phosphate, rare earth elements (REE), coal, oil and gas resources. The focus of this effort is to understand the potential for byproduct recovery of U-235 and Th-232, the fissionable isotopes used to generate nuclear energy from wastes produced during energy resource development. The NORM...
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NORM Byproducts of Energy Resources

Naturally Occurring Radioactive Material (NORM) is found in waste produced during the extraction of uranium, phosphate, rare earth elements (REE), coal, oil and gas resources. The focus of this effort is to understand the potential for byproduct recovery of U-235 and Th-232, the fissionable isotopes used to generate nuclear energy from wastes produced during energy resource development. The NORM...
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Byproducts of Energy Fuels

This task provides detailed information on the use and resource potential of energy by-products, as well as controls on the potential mobility of contaminants resulting from transport, storage, and disposal of these byproducts. Specific topics investigated include 1) transport and fate of organic and inorganic contaminants during storage and disposal of waste coal and coal combustion byproducts...
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Byproducts of Energy Fuels

This task provides detailed information on the use and resource potential of energy by-products, as well as controls on the potential mobility of contaminants resulting from transport, storage, and disposal of these byproducts. Specific topics investigated include 1) transport and fate of organic and inorganic contaminants during storage and disposal of waste coal and coal combustion byproducts...
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Microbial Methanogenesis and Strategies for Enhancements

Microbial (biogenic) natural gas is present in shale, coal and petroleum reservoirs and is estimated to account for 20% of the world’s natural gas resources. We provide hydrological, geochemical and microbial information related to the production of biogenic natural gas and new methods to monitor and enhance the production of this energy resource. Generating microbial methane at a faster rate from...
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Microbial Methanogenesis and Strategies for Enhancements

Microbial (biogenic) natural gas is present in shale, coal and petroleum reservoirs and is estimated to account for 20% of the world’s natural gas resources. We provide hydrological, geochemical and microbial information related to the production of biogenic natural gas and new methods to monitor and enhance the production of this energy resource. Generating microbial methane at a faster rate from...
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Maps of Energy Occurrence

The primary objective of this task is to produce digital maps coal-bearing areas and related energy sources and materials of the U.S., and internationally. The approach for creating GIS representations of energy sources of the U.S. and the world is to use existing geologic GIS data where possible, supplemented by data on location, rank and age from published maps and reports. Each GIS database...
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Maps of Energy Occurrence

The primary objective of this task is to produce digital maps coal-bearing areas and related energy sources and materials of the U.S., and internationally. The approach for creating GIS representations of energy sources of the U.S. and the world is to use existing geologic GIS data where possible, supplemented by data on location, rank and age from published maps and reports. Each GIS database...
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