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Existing Infrastructure and co-locating opportunities attract companies to West Virginia

Charleston, W.Va. – A strategic location and a readily available, skilled work force are important incentives for industries to locate in West Virginia, but having available infrastructure is becoming equally important as companies decide where to set up shop. That is why the Chemical Alliance Zone (CAZ) is working with existing operations to share infrastructure with new companies interested in coming to the state.

“The fact that everything is already in place is a big selling point for a company that wants to come into this market,” says Kevin DiGregorio, executive director of CAZ.

CAZ is an economic development organization that promotes the chemical industry in Cabell, Kanahwa, Putnam, Wayne and parts of Marshall counties, and strives to encourage industries to locate to the area. The group, essentially, acts as a third party in discussions among companies and economic development groups, providing chemical industry expertise, information gathering and discussion facilitation.

Existing infrastructure brings clear benefits to investors at shared manufacturing sites. Cooperative support allows for lower capital investment, fast startup and reduced operating costs. Companies in CAZ offer land for development, office and laboratory space, and supporting infrastructure to meet the expansion plans of suppliers, customers and third-party companies.

“By offering a shared-site business model, companies are able to save considerable costs and time compared to locating to a new, green site,” said DiGregorio. Existing sites such as Bayer, DuPont and Dow offer excellent facilities and low-cost infrastructure.

Companies that locate to one of these joint sites can share the costs of utilities, waste management, safety and environmental management, compliance, information technology and security.

David Drew, CEO of Emerald Biofuels, said his company became interested in West Virginia, and more specifically Bayer CropScience, because of logistics. “Choosing the site was easy. The accessibility of the plant from the interstate, rail and river, made that step of the decision making process simple,” stated Drew.

Emerald Biofuels is a manufacturer and technology provider of renewable fuels. The company has developed a proprietary process for manufacturing biodiesel fuel from soybean oil and other sources of renewable fats and oils. The company is currently designing its plant for the Bayer CropScience location.

“One of the selling points of the Institute site is our location. It is on the river and directly off the interstate highway, which connects us to two-thirds of the U.S. population in only a day’s drive,” said Tom Dover, public information manager for Bayer CropScience.

Bayer is one of the sites included in CAZ, and one that has the resources available for co-locating. “We have some of the materials right here at our Institute site that Emerald needs to produce its product. Plus, we have the space. With 460 acres and a large infrastructure, it makes sense to participate in business ventures such as this,” said Dover.

Dover explains how Emerald first learned about Bayer’s site. “The West Virginia Development Office directed them to CAZ. From there, they learned about Bayer’s participation in the group and were able to connect with our representatives.”

Another CAZ member, DuPont, has also seen the benefits of co-locating. “By sharing our site and combining resources with companies like Kureha Corp. and Lucite International, we are able to create a synergistic effect that will make our businesses more competitive and successful in the chemical industry,” said Bill Menke, DuPont plant manager.

The West Virginia Development Office markets the advantages of shared-site arrangements when meeting with prospects. “We market these shared opportunities in the chemical and polymer sectors at trade shows, on visits and by other methods,” said Kelley Goes, executive director for the West Virginia Development Office. “The opportunity to co-locate can be a significant factor in a chemical company’s investment decision.”

“It’s important for us to work closely with the West Virginia Development Office, the Charleston Area Alliance, companies such as DuPont, Bayer and Dow, and others across the state to find opportunities and turn them into new, high-paying jobs. It is also important for everyone to realize these investments in money and time are long-term; they don’t happen overnight,” said DiGregorio.

To learn more about the Chemical Alliance Zone, visit www.cazwv.com or call 304-720-1023.

Bayer New Martinsville
Bayer New Martinsville Plant

Bayer's New Martinsville, W.Va., Industrial Park offers prime space for co-location.
Aerospace Insert
Dupont Belle Plant

Learn more about the DuPont Bell, W.Va., plant as a co-location site.