Area Development
Carbonxt Inc., an Australian start-up company, announces it plans on building a new $29 million plant to convert coal into an activated carbon product in Kanawha County, West Virginia.

The 45,000-sq.-ft. commercial activated-carbon production facility will be constructed on land leased from Bayer CropScience Institute, WV, and eventually employ 45 workers.

Carbonxt Inc. is a subsidiary of Carbonxt Group Limited of Sydney, Australia. The parent company said it is "preparing to initiate" the plant during third quarter 2011.

A $13 million, low-interest loan to Carbonxt Inc. received preliminary approval last month from the West Virginia Economic Development Authority (WVEDA). The loan has a few contingencies, however. The company must complete a "successful" initial public stock offering and also have half of the new facility capacity sold before the loan will be closed, according to WVEDA Executive Director David Warner (source: Charleston Daily Mail).

Carbonxt already operates a "pilot" technical facility in West Virginia which was built in preparation for the imminent construction of the commercial plant. This facility is expected to produce 20 kilotons of activated carbon annually, and has an expansion capacity of an additional 20 kilotons.

Activated carbon has a range of uses, including water purification and mercury removal from coal-fired power plant emissions. "The mercury-control market is predicted to significantly increase the demand for activated carbon in the U.S. in the coming years," noted company communications about the project. "[We are] well placed to capitalize on these market conditions."