September 23, 2013
A proposed refinery in Ashtabula County will convert natural gas to diesel fuel in what will be the first major project for a Plain City energy-technology company.
Velocys Inc. released details of the plan this morning, which the company said will lead to 400 construction jobs and 30 permanent jobs. The plant, developed with Pinto Energy of Houston, will be designed to produce 2,800 barrels per day of diesel fuel.
Using a process called Fischer-Tropsch, the refinery will convert the region’s plentiful natural gas into a much more expensive liquid fuel.
“This highlights the unique opportunity presented by abundant Marcellus and Utica shale gas reserves, as well as the drive for energy security and cleaner fuels,” Roy Lipski, CEO of Velocys, said in a statement.
Velocys is aiming to have the refinery completed by the end of 2015.
It is one of several so-called “gas-to-liquids” projects that are in the planning and design phases. The others, including projects in Qatar and Louisiana, are much larger and being developed by more established energy companies.
In contrast, Velocys has built its business around the idea of smaller refineries that companies can create to provide diesel fuel for their own use. The cost of the Ashtabula County project was not disclosed.
Velocys is a spinoff from Columbus-based Battelle, a research firm that has been working on its technology for more than a decade and has raised about $300 million. Earlier this year, the company opened a test plant at its headquarters in Plain City to demonstrate the process to potential clients.