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Pleasants County to get methanol plant

ST. MARYS — Pleasants County soon will be the site of the flagship methanol plant for West Virginia.

This week, West Virginia Methanol Inc. announced the receipt of an air permit from the state Department of Environmental Protection.

Methanol is used to produce thousands of products including charging stations, yoga pants, cell phones, space vehicles and electric vehicles, among others. It is a clean-burning liquid fuel alternative.

“West Virginia’s abundant supply of natural gas provides a clean feedstock for the project, and methanol customers in the region will benefit from lower transportation costs,” Lars Scott, executive vice president of West Virginia Methanol, said.

The plant in Pleasants County will be the foundation from which the company will “build additional units throughout the world with low feedstock costs near methanol customers’ facilities,” according to a press release.

By using Haldor Topsoe’s To-Go technology in collaboration with Modular Plant Solutions, the plant will convert natural gas to methanol, which will ensure minimized on-site construction and short commissioning time and save upfront capital costs.

Gov. Jim Justice believes the plant will boost West Virginia’s economy.

“You’re seeing businesses leaving other states left and right, but West Virginia’s economy continues to grow. We have an incredible manufacturing base and a great workforce training program that’s going to produce a lot of good for our beautiful state,” Justice said in a news release in October.

On a local level, Diane Braun, executive director of the Pleasants County Development Authority, feels the new plant will provide an opportunity to add to the history of the county and its involvement in the chemical industry.

“The Pleasants County Development Authority is proud to have played a role in the arrival of such a substantial project. Pleasants County has a rich history centered in the growth of the chemical industry,” Braun said in a press release. “That history has spawned a well-trained and reliable workforce here. We are especially pleased to welcome West Virginia Methanol to our commercial community. It is exciting to be part of an enduring partnership which can amplify our joint commitment to the manufacturing sector.”

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