BELPRE - Almost $60 million has been invested over the past year at a major plant in Belpre.
Kraton Polymers is installing two new natural gas steam boilers that will reduce hazardous emissions and greenhouse gasses and provide for a more efficient use of energy. The company announced in November 2012 it would spend $51 million over a three-year period on the installation of the boilers. Construction began in 2013 and the new gas boilers are expected to be fully operational in the first quarter of 2015.
The plan includes the two boilers, a new supply line for the natural and a steam turbine to generate electrical power, the company said. The line supplying the natural gas to fire the boilers will be 10 miles long.
Kraton Polymers is adding two new gas-fired boilers at its Belpre site, a $50 million investment intended to reduce emissions and improve energy efficiency.
The new boilers will replace the existing two coal-fired boilers, Belpre Site Manager Scott Oran said.
Natural gas will be more clean-burning than coal, thereby complying with new environmental guidelines on emissions, he said.
"Making the move to clean-burning natural gas will not only help ensure our energy future, but also demonstrates that we walk the talk in being a good neighbor," Oran said.
Calling it a significant investment in this plant, Mike White, a Kraton spokesman, said the boiler project is part of the implementation of the company's strategic energy project ensuring the energy future of the Belpre site.
In the early 60s, the Kraton Polymers group of companies pioneered the production of styrene block polymers. The Belpre plant traces its roots back to 1961 as Shell Chemical and was sold in 2001 to Kraton Polymers.
Today, the plant is the fourth largest employer in Washington County, with nearly 430 employees.
The upcoming project has been publicly vetted, including at a public hearing organized by the Ohio Environmental Protection Agency on Kraton's air permit.
The planned project at the site includes two 249 million BTU per hour boilers that will reduce net emissions of nitrogen oxide by 291.67 tons a year, sulfur dioxide by 3,258.32 tons a year, particulate emissions and matter 155.68 tons a year.
The project will be reduce hazardous air emissions by 96.5 percent and Green House Gasses by 15 percent, White said.
It's a win-win for everyone, Oran said. Air quality is improved and the company remains a good steward of the environment, he said.
"This also represents a continued commitment in our Kraton Belpre site and to our community," Oran said.