Illinois borehole offers rare chance for research



An unprecedented engineering project by a power company may give researchers a chance to look deep into the Precambrian basement of northern Illinois.

Commonwealth Edison (Com Ed), a major supplier of electricity in that region, is drilling an exploratory hole near Winslow, in Stephenson County (expected final depth: 1650 m), as part of an effort to determine if it is feasible to build an underground hydroelectric plant. The system will pump water to a surface reservoir at night, then generate power by dropping the water through turbines to an underground reservoir during the day, when demand for electricity is high.