Tuesday, June 20, 2017

Kalama Methanol Permits Approved

By Karen Robes Meeks

The Port of Kalama has secured two key permit approvals from the Washington Department of Ecology that would allow for the construction of a proposed facility for manufacturing and exporting methanol.

The state department recently approved a conditional use permit and granted water quality certification for the project, which would be built on about 100 acres of industrial property at the north end of the port’s marine industrial park.

The methanol plant and marine terminal project is allowable under the state’s Shoreline Management Act and Cowlitz County’s shoreline master program as long as it meets environmental protection standards, according to the state.

The facility is expected to produce up to one million metric tons of greenhouse gases a year to make methanol from natural gas. Under the conditional use permit, the port and Northwest Innovation Works will need to lessen greenhouse gas emissions that come from the methanol plant by 1.7 percent annually from the first year it is fully operational until emissions level off in 2035.The port says most of emissions associated with the condition are outside shoreline jurisdiction and added that the project would significantly lower GHG emissions by using Ultra-Low-Emission gas methanol instead of coal methanol.

The permit also requires putting in place on-site dredge disposal standards to protect water quality since the plant would be built near the Columbia River, though the methanol plant would have a system that recycles manufacturing process water to avoid discharges to the nearby river.

These permits are part of several more the port will need in order to construct the facility.

The marine terminal – which would be built, owned and operated by the Port of Kalama – would be used mainly by Northwest Innovation Works and available to other ships for lay berth use, according to the port. It would feature a dock, berth, loading equipment, utilities and a stormwater system. Methanol vessels coming to the terminal would be able to hook up to pollution-reducing shore power.

According to the state department, the facility would be able to produce 10,000 metric tons of methanol daily from natural gas once operational.