KALAMA - Northwest Innovation Works (NWIW) has signed an agreement to adopt a pioneering ultra-low emissions (ULE) reforming technology for its planned natural gas-to-methanol manufacturing facilities. The use of this innovative technology will reduce the environmental impact of the proposed facilities while maintaining the significant job creation and economic growth generated by the $5.4 billion investment NWIW is making in the region.
“This is what a clean manufacturing future can look like when you have strong partners working together,” said Gov. Jay Inslee. ”This is one of the largest investments by a Chinese-led company in the United States and one of the most innovative clean manufacturing projects in the nation – and it’s happening right here in Cowlitz County. NWIW’s project will be a model for the entire world once it’s complete. This facility will not only help move China away from coal, it will also support hundreds of new Washington jobs in the construction of the facility and its permanent operation.”
Under the previously considered technology, permitting analysis found that the Port of Kalama facility could have emitted between 1.0 and 1.3 million metric tons of CO2 annually for daily production of 5,000 metric tons of methanol per line. With ULE reforming technology, preliminary analysis suggests emissions could be reduced by up to 75 percent at the Port of Kalama facility for the same level of methanol production. NWIW will also utilize this technology at the facilities it has planned for Tacoma, WA, and in Port Westward, OR.
Methanol produced at the facilities will be exported to Asia to manufacture olefins. Using natural gas to produce olefins is cleaner and more environmentally-friendly than using coal, which is frequently used as a feedstock to produce olefins in China. ”NWIW’s use of ULE reform technology is an excellent demonstration of how CAS Holding’s principle of interactive innovation can be applied to achieve economic growth, reduce environmental impact and strengthen collaboration between US and China,” said Wu Lebin, Chairman of the Chinese Academy of Sciences Holdings. “This project demonstrates technological innovation by adopting the most advanced and environmentally friendly ULE technology, business innovation by producing methanol in North America as part of a value-added manufacturing process for Chinese chemical production, and capital innovation by leveraging financial resources on both sides of the Pacific.”
The Kalama facility is currently in the permitting process, and a draft environmental impact statement is estimated to be completed by late fall 2015. The adoption of this technology is an example of the research and feasibility study functions that are a hallmark of the State Environmental Policy Act (SEPA) process. Permitting on the Tacoma facility is expected to begin in late 2015, with Port Westward activities following in 2016.
"At NWIW, our goal is to build facilities which not only generate strong economic and job growth for our community partners, but also demonstrate leadership in using innovative technology to minimize environmental impact,” noted Simon Zhang, Chairman of Northwest Innovation Works. “ULE reforming technology will enable us to achieve our economic and environmental goals and cements our commitment to innovation and reducing impacts for the region.”
“The world is moving away from dirtier manufacturing methods, making projects like this more long-term economically sustainable,” said Brian Bonlender, director, Washington State Department of Commerce. “We can have family-wage manufacturing jobs, and build strong and enduring communities while reducing carbon pollution. NWIW is the kind of partner we want in our state.”
Johnson Matthey has contracted to provide NWIW at the Port of Kalama with the ULE reforming technology. Johnson Matthey technology has been used in methanol applications since 1994.
Geoff Otterman, Divisional Director of Johnson Matthey’s Process Technologies Division, noted, “Johnson Matthey is excited to be involved in such a prestigious project – which enables us to work closely with our partners to contribute world leading environmentally sustainable technologies to both the local and global economy.”
For more information about ULE reforming technology and NWIW, visit www.nwinnovationworks.com.