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Carbon-neutral industrial park planned for Putnam County

Marquis Incorporated
A 5,000 foot test well drilled in Hennepin will determine a 2,500 acre Putnam County industrial park's capacity for carbon sequestration.
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A Putnam County industrial park is implementing a plan to go fully carbon-neutral, in what their CEO claims is a world-first.

Mark Marquis, CEO of Marquis Energy in Hennepin, said his carbon sequestration plan calls for digging wells through an impermeable capstone about 3,000 feet below ground.

"We drill through the capstone, and you get into about a 2,000 foot layer of sandstone and saline, salty water," Marquis said. "And that's ideal for trapping CO2."

Marquis said a similar sandstone layer is present across much of central and southern Illinois, which could open up more carbon sequestration possibilities in the state.

"Low carbon businesses is something that Illinois, given where it is geology-wise, Illinois can be the leading state in low-carbon business going into the future, and do more than its part to reduce climate change," he said.

Marquis said he believes the 2,500 acre industrial site could currently store about 4 million tons of carbon dioxide per year.

About 200 acres of the industrial park is currently occupied by a dry-mill ethanol refinery, the largest such facility in the United States. In a statement, Marquis said his family may consider reducing their exposure to the fuel-grade ethanol business after unfavorable decisions made by both the Trump and Biden administrations.

Marquis said his company is currently drilling a 5,000 foot test well to determine the site's exact capacity for carbon sequestration.

Blue hydrogen and blue ammonia facilities are planned for the site, as well as the manufacture of bio-based chemicals and plastics.

The industrial park is located near the Illinois River, Interstate 180, railways, and natural gas pipelines.

"We're excited to be a part of that. Move to the future, and do our part to make our atmosphere cleaner and safer," Marquis said.