Upstart US Methanol Corp. welcomed local and state leaders this week to a groundbreaking ceremony in Kanawha County, WV, for its first methanol production plant, which would use Appalachian shale natural gas to manufacture the product.
With the ability to produce 200,000 metric tons of methanol per year, the Liberty One facility is expected to start operations in the second half of 2018. The plant was broken down in Brazil and moved to the new site in Institute near Charleston, where Dow Chemical Co. has a facility.
In addition to marketing its methanol throughout the U.S. Northeast, nearby chemical companies, such as Chemours Co., are also expected to take advantage of supplies from the plant.
Methanol is used in a wide-array of products including antifreeze and solvents. It’s also an important product for the petrochemical industry, which is expected to grow in the region once ethylene and polyethylene production begins at ethane crackers that have been proposed or are under construction in the region.
US Methanol also plans to eventually construct another plant in the state. The company was founded in 2014 and chose West Virginia because of the region’s abundant natural gas supplies and the current site’s barge, rail and truck access.