An energy company is proposing a $2.5 billion coal-to-diesel facility in Spencer County. Riverview Energy Corp., which is based in Delaware and has a presence in New York, says the operation would eventually produce 4.8 million barrels of diesel fuel and 2.5 million barrels of naphtha, a liquid used as a solvent, a fuel and in plastics. President Gregory Merle says the facility would be the only one of its kind in the U.S. and is the company’s most ambitious project yet.
In an interview with Inside INdiana Business, Merle said Riverview Energy is still in the early stages of the planning and permitting process. "We’ve selected the site in Spencer County," he said, "we’ve filed our application with IDEM for our air permits for construction, and that means we’ve conducted some engineering, some of the preliminary design on the site, we have a plot plan — all of that information is out there." Merle adds the full vision for the site, including building locations on the 550 acres and blueprints, is still being refined. Full funding has not yet been locked in and Merle believes production could be about three years away.
The process that would be used in the plant, Merle says, involves applying high pressure and temperature to coal particles through direct conversion, not burning or gasifying the coal. He calls it a "new use" for coal. "We will not likely see a new, coal-fired power-generation plant built in the U.S. in our lifetime," so he says the process would provide another outlet for the coal industry. Indiana’s coal has a high sulfur content, which Merle says works well with the chemical reactions that take place in the direct conversion process.
Merle says the U.S. 231 and Interstate 64 location is ideal because of its access to coal in the Illinois Basin, rail lines, natural gas, power and highways to ship the end products. He says the state’s business climate also played a role in the decision to select southwest Indiana. "The site is ideally situated to bring our products to any variety of markets that might need it. We can bring it to the Northeast for home heating — especially in the winter. We can bring it to the North. There’s the hub in Chicago, and that’s most likely for transportation and trucking and agriculture (industries), and it can go down to the Gulf Coast for shipping," he said. "It’s also a product-based decision, in that we can kind of send our products anywhere we want."
The company says if the project moves forward, it would create over 2,000 construction jobs and 225 full-time jobs to run the facility. You can connect to more about the company and its plans in Spencer County by clicking here.
In an interview with Inside INdiana Business, President Gregory Merle said Riverview Energy is still in the early stages of the planning and permitting process.