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Cogeneration plant aimed at making Sabic more energy efficient

By: Frank Esposito

December 3, 2013

Sabic Innovative Plastics is making a major infrastructure investment at its production site in Mount Vernon, Ind.

Sabic plans to build a cogeneration plant in Mount Vernon that will use natural gas to produce a majority of steam used at the site. Currently, Sabic IP uses coal boilers to generate about 40 percent of the site's steam. The new co-gen plant will address Environmental Protection Agency standards as well as offering an economical and sustainable solution, officials with Pittsfield, Mass.-based Sabic IP said in a Dec. 3 news release.

The firm also is investing in new technology at the Mount Vernon site that will increase the location's production efficiency by 20-30 percent. The new technology will use less steam and electricity and also will improve the site's competitive position, officials said.

The investments are the largest made in Mount Vernon in the last 30 years, plant manager Joe Castrale said in the release. They also "are in-line with our commitment as a business to serving our customers and supporting the communities where we operate," he added.

The new technology is expected to be in place by 2015. No date was provided for the opening of the co-gen plant. The projects are expected to create 150-200 temporary construction jobs.

The co-gen plant is expected to open in 2017. No cost estimate for that plant or for the technology investment was available.

"These investments demonstrate [Sabic IP's] commitment to being the preferred supplier of engineering thermoplastics, while continuing to pursue its ambitious sustainability objectives," manufacturing vice president Mike Walsh said in the release.

The Mount Vernon plant was opened in 1960 by GE Plastics, which was acquired in 2007 by Saudi Basic Industries Corp., the parent company of Sabic IP. The site is Sabic's largest U.S. manufacturing facility, employing 1,200 and producing Lexan-brand polycarbonate as well as other engineering resins and compounds.