West Virginia-based Domestic Synthetic Fuels is preparing to break ground in October on a $1.2 billion project to convert coal and natural gas into gasoline and other fuels.

The facility in Point Pleasant, WV, is designed to mix coal with a catalyst and hydrogen derived from natural gas. The mixture would then convert to produce an ultra-low sulfur diesel fuel, gasoline and other liquids in a direct conversion process.

The facility, said to be the first of its kind in the United States, could produce 10,750 b/d of fuel, the company said. The process would require 23 MMcf/d of natural gas and 2,500 tons/d of thermal coal.

“The coal-to-liquids fuel facility is expected to create 130 full-time jobs, including management, mining and construction, and boost the local, state and regional economy,” said President Kevin Whited.

West Virginia was chosen as the plant site because of easy barge access and abundant coal and gas supplies as the state is an epicenter of Marcellus and Utica shale drilling, Whited noted. The coal wouldn’t be burned, making the facility more efficient than when using indirect conversion methods.

Whited said most of the material going into the facility should be recycled throughout the process. Even the catalyst used in the conversion process can be reused several times, the company said.

Director John Musgrave of the Mason County Economic Development Authority, said “most of the process is going to be self-contained, which is very important. If you’re self-contained, you don’t have a lot of waste.”

The facility is expected to be completed by early 2023.