Capacity expansion planned for proposed Ohio GTL plant

Ashtabula Energy LLC, Ashtabula, Ohio, a subsidiary of Velocys PLC, Houston, is seeking approval to build a grassroots gas-to-liquids plant that would convert natural gas into diesel near Ashtabula, on Lake Erie, northeast of Cleveland.

Ashtabula Energy LLC, Ashtabula, Ohio, a subsidiary of Velocys PLC, Houston, is seeking approval to build a grassroots gas-to-liquids plant that would convert natural gas into diesel near Ashtabula, on Lake Erie, northeast of Cleveland.

Ashtabula Energy has applied for a permit that would allow the proposed plant to release 1.625 million gpd of process wastewaters into Lake Erie, according to a public notice from Ohio Environmental Protection Agency.

The discharge water, which would consist of noncontact cooling water, water treatment plant residuals, sanitary wastewater, and process waste streams, would be sent through a treatment process before being discharged into the lake, Ohio EPA said.

The agency will take comments on the wastewater discharge permit application at a Jan. 22 public hearing in Ashtabula.

Ashtabula Energy’s proposed GTL project first was announced in 2013 by former owner Pinto Energy LLC, Houston, which said it would install a 2,800-b/d plant on 80 acres to convert natural gas from the Utica and Marcellus shales into solvents, lubricants, waxes, and transportation fuels (OGJ Online, Sept. 27, 2013).

At the time, Pinto already had let a contract to Ventech Engineers International LLC to serve as engineering, procurement, and construction contractor for the project, as well as selected Velocys’ Fischer Tropsch technology.

In June 2014, Velocys announced it had acquired 100% of Pinto and its wholly owned subsidiaries, including the planned Ashtabula GTL project, according to a June 25, 2014, release from the company.

Capacity boost

While Pinto’s initial plans included commissioning of the Ashtabula plant in early 2016, Velocys has proposed an expansion of the project’s first phase that would increase capacity to 4,200 b/d from its original 2,800 b/d, Velocys said in a November 2014 presentation at the American Fuels & Petrochemical Manufacturers International Lubricants & Waxes Conference.

While front-end engineering and design work on the plant’s expanded first phase already was under way as of November, a final air pollution permit-to-install and operate (PTIO) issued by Ohio EPA on Apr. 2, 2014, for the initial installation of the GTL plant still needed to be revised and resubmitted to reflect the larger plant size, according to Velocys and Ohio EPA.

Velocys, which has planned a future expansion of the Ashtabula plant to 10,000 b/d, expects to take final investment decision on the project near the end of first-half 2015, the company said in an October 2014 presentation posted to its web site.

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