New Coal Liquefaction Plant to Use Natural Gas in Mason County, WV

by Duane Nichols on July 25, 2019

Direct Coal Liquefaction Plant based on H-Coal Process (Hydrogenation)

New chemical to convert coal to liquid fuel planned for Mason County, WV

From an Article in the Huntington Herald-Dispatch and Charleston Gazette, June 19, 2019

POINT PLEASANT — Ground will be broken this year for a new $1.2 billion coal-to-liquids-fuel facility in Mason County, according to the development company planning to build it.

Domestic Synthetic Fuels, a West Virginia-owned company, said in a news release that it will convert the state’s coal and natural gas to gasoline and other fuels. It will be the first of its kind in the United States, the company said.

The West Virginia Department of Environmental Protection recently approved the draft construction permit for the project. Company officials said they plan a series of community open house meetings to explain the project and its benefits to the community.

“We want to be as transparent as possible in explaining this project to our neighbors,” Kevin Whited, the lead developer for DS Fuels.

According to Whited, the coal to liquids facility is expected to create 130 full-time jobs, including management, mining and construction, and boost the local, state and regional economy. He said DS Fuels will bring coal from nearby Kanawha County to feed the facility. The project is expected to create more than 100 mining jobs to supply the facility. Thousands of temporary construction jobs also will be created, Whited added.

“I’m from West Virginia,” Whited said. “We have West Virginians unemployed, and the coal industry has been decimated. We’re not the solution to revive it, but we’re going to be part of it.”

Whited said the Mason County facility will differ from previous coal-to-liquids projects proposed for the state.

“This is environmentally sound,” Whited said. “The technology is more advanced, and the direct method used does not actually burn coal, but subjects it to heat and pressure, making the process much greener.”

Whited said the direct coal to liquids process to be utilized in Mason County mixes coal with a catalyst and hydrogen derived from natural gas and subjects the mixture to heat and pressure to produce ultra-low-sulfur diesel fuel, gasoline and other liquids. The resulting fuels burn cleaner than those refined from petroleum and are just as effective in vehicles.

“The facility serves a vital role,” said Chris Hamilton, senior vice president of the West Virginia Coal Association. “For decades, we’ve been looking at ways to expand the coal usage, coal development activities and how we can expand the overall fossil fuel portfolio. Any type of domestic homegrown, synthetic fuel particularly manufactured from coal accelerates those objectives.”

“Domestic Synthetic Fuels is unique for West Virginia and the United States as being a one-of-a-kind facility utilizing two of our biggest natural resources here in West Virginia,” said Rebecca McPhail, president of the West Virginia Manufacturers Association.

“DS Fuels is a good fit in West Virginia because of the natural resources that we have here,” she said. “The two primary ingredients for its manufacturing process, coal and natural gas, are in abundance here. So, it makes us the perfect location for this type of facility.”

Whited said he chose Mason County for the fuel plant because the area has easy barge access and is close to supplies of coal and natural gas.

The facility will go on 200 acres secured from the Mason County Development Authority in the Mason County Industrial Park. The park is approximately five miles north of Point Pleasant, along W.Va. 62, across from the Mason County Airport and along the Ohio River.

Whited said funding has been secured for the project, including some international investors.

“Unlike prior coal-to-liquids projects proposed in the Mountain State, this is going to happen,” Whited said. “We have the money, we have the technology and we have the expertise.”

Construction is estimated to begin October 2019 with a project completion date of 2022 or early 2023. The facility is expected to use about 2,500 tons of thermal coal and about 23 million cubic feet of natural gas each day to produce 10,750 barrels of fuel, which is more than 450,000 gallons, according to the company’s website.

To learn more about the project, visit


Ohio Valley Environmental Coalition — Regional Action Alert

There is a new threat on the horizon for your neck of the woods! Kevin Whited’s Domestic Synthetic Fuels is applying for a permit to build a toxic coal liquefaction plant along the Ohio River in Mason County, WV. (Note that Kevin Whited is “the head of a West Virginia company that has not repaid a $250,000 loan to Washington County (who) is (now) proposing a $1.2 billion energy project in western West Virginia.”)

If you are getting this email, then you live or do business within a 50 mile radius of the proposed plant, and your health and well-being is at risk!

If built, the plant would spew more than 71 tons of carbon monoxide, 80 tons of nitrogen oxides, 132 tons of fine particulate matter, 83 tons of sulfur dioxide, 86 tons of volatile organic compounds (VOCs), and more than 16 tons of other unnamed hazardous air pollutants per year! And this facility would be within three miles of both Point Pleasant Middle and High Schools!

All for the fool’s errand of turning coal into diesel fuel, a “technology” that has proven time and again to be uneconomical and downright stupid.

What can you do? Come out for the air quality permit hearing this Tuesday, July 30 at 6 p.m. at the Mason County Courthouse, 200 Sixth Street, Point Pleasant, WV 25550.

Find all the details from the WV-DEP Public Meeting Notice here.

Can’t come to the hearing? Please do submit comments. Find the details you will need for commenting here, along with some links to relevant news stories. E-mail if you would like some tips for commenting.

{ 1 comment… read it below or add one }

Vivian Stockman July 29, 2019 at 7:28 pm

July 30: Calling All Air Breathers and Water Drinkers to Speak Up!

From Vivian Stockman, Ohio Valley Environmental Coalition

We’ve said it before, and sadly we have to say it again. The idea of converting coal into a liquid fuel is nuts. It’s the stuff of desperate regimes. (Hmmm.) The energy input versus energy output equation is dubious at best. The amount of water used to make one barrel of fuel from coal is nuts. Investing in any new major source of greenhouse gas is nuts. And government subsidies—not that any have been sought that we know of so farwell that would be uber nuts in this time of climate change.

One has to wonder, too, about the wisdom of giving a permit to Domestic Synthetic Fuels, headed by Kevin Whited. In 2016, another Whited-affiliated company, Green Kinetics Gateway LLC, promised to build a waste-to-energy project at a Maryland landfill. That project so far has gone nowhere, and MD officials are still trying to recoup a $250,000 loan to Whited’s company due a year ago.

Now Kevin Whited’s Domestic Synthetic Fuels is applying for an air permit as part of a scheme to build a toxic coal liquefaction plant along the Ohio River in Mason County, WV.

Come out for the air quality permit hearing tomorrow, Tuesday, July 30 at 6 p.m. at the Mason County Courthouse, 200 Sixth Street, Point Pleasant, WV, 25550.

Can’t come to the hearing? Please do submit comments by e-mail to DEP by the end of the hearing tomorrow night or better, by 6 p.m. to play it safe). Find all details you will need here. Learn more in this blog from OVEC organizer Alex Cole: For Sanity’s Sake: Come to a Hearing to Oppose Coal-to-Liquid Plant in Mason County.

Find the hearing on Facebook here and please do invite others to come out.


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