Rockwool decides natural gas over coal at Jefferson County plant

RANSON, W.Va. — With less than a year before Rockwool is scheduled to open its wool insulation plant in Jefferson County, the Denmark-based company is moving forward with plans to use natural gas as the facility’s fuel source.

The company last week announced plans to use natural gas for its melting furnace, adding the move would result in a 30% reduction in carbon dioxide emissions.

Michael Zarin, Rockwool’s vice president of group communications, told MetroNews affiliate WEPM-AM the move will be a “game changer” in the industry in regards to sustainability.

“To our knowledge, we’re the only ones in the industry who have this ability,” he said.

Zarin said the company already uses the technology at a Danish factory, with plans to expand its use to another facility in Denmark and a plant in Poland.

“At our factory in Denmark, the one that we often refer to as the prototype for the Ranson factory, we’ve been testing and further developing our ability to run the melting process using gas,” he added. “The testing in Denmark went better and faster than we anticipated, which gives us the confidence to start up operations on gas instead of coal.”

According to Zarin, Mountaineer Gas will be providing natural gas to the facility and the necessary infrastructure has already been built.

When asked if Rockwool will have to submit new air permits, Zarin said it would not be necessary.

“The emissions are going to go down or be neutral across the board,” he said.

Rockwool’s plans in the Eastern Panhandle have garnered protests related to environmental and public health concerns. Rockwool already has a facility in Mississippi, making the Jefferson County location the company’s second plant in the United States.





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