CHARLESTON, W.Va. – West Virginia Gov. Jim Justice hosted a virtual announcement Monday afternoon to detail plans for a Welsh company to expand its clean coal operations to the Mountain State.
DST Innovations and Blue Rock Manufacturing are planning to locate facilities in the Morgantown area and in the state’s Southern Coalfields, which could lead to 1,000 jobs, officials announced.
It will take awhile to get to 1,000 jobs, as facilities are built and employees are trained, officials said. No timelines for the project were given.
The companies use their technology to reduce coal to hard carbon, which is then used in batteries and supercapacitors, for sustainable energy storage, officials described.
A production facility, which will make electronic components, will be located in the Morgantown area, while a reactor, that reduces the coal to hard carbon will be located somewhere near a coal source in southern West Virginia, officials said. Justice described the reduction as going from a ton of coal, to an amount that fits in a shoebox.
Gov. Justice said the announcement is the product of three years of work and that he first mentioned it publicly during his 2020 State of the State Address. Movement on the project has been slowed by the COVID-19 pandemic, officials said.
“You’ll find the people of West Virginia are a loving people, they’re craftsman, they’re really really great at what they do. They’re innovative. They’re good solid thinkers, but the very thing they are, more than anything, is they’re appreciative people,” Justice told the company officials.
DST already works with other industries in West Virginia, with officials describing them as “superb.”
Much like West Virginia, Wales has a proud coal history.
“We absolutely are the diamond in the rough that people are now finding,” Gov. Justice said.
You can watch the full announcement in the video player at the top of this story.