Aither Chemicals, a company formed to produce petrochemicals from the ethane in the "wet" Marcellus shale gas extracted in northern West Virginia, has received a commitment of US$250,000 from the state's venture capital fund - West Virginia Jobs Investment Trust.
"We will use West Virginia's natural gas resources to produce ethane-based products near the source of the raw material," said Aither CEO Leonard Dolhert. "With Aither as a local provider, West Virginia's chemical companies will be able to reduce shipping costs."
However, Aither's process for creating chemical products from ethylene is a different approach, designed to work on a smaller scale with lower start-up costs than conventional steam crackers. "In Marcellus shale and the byproduct ethane gas, West Virginia has a natural resource with tremendous economic potential," said Keith Burdette, state Secretary of Commerce and WVJIT chairman. "Aither's approach to convert ethane into petrochemicals will enhance our capability to develop this resource, retaining and creating jobs in the state." The WVJIT Board wants to help Aither pursue additional funding and production partners in this new energy and chemical economy, according to WVJIT Executive Director Andy Zulauf.