Ascend Expands Decatur Plastics Plant

Ascend Performance Materials has announced the construction of cogeneration units and expansion of adiponitrile capacity at its Decatur facility.

The $175 million project will reduce emissions and expand the plant’s capacity for producing ADN — a key component in advanced nylons  —  to a level matched by only four plants in the world.

A global provider of plastics, fibers and chemicals, Ascend’s board of directors approved the project, subject to finalized incentive agreements with the state, Morgan County Economic Development Association and the city of Decatur.

Approximately 150 construction jobs will be created during the expansion, in addition to the 10 full-time manufacturing jobs created when the project is complete. The expansion will also help the plant reduce emissions by 60 percent. Ascend currently employs more than 400 workers in Alabama.

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“The Decatur community is at the heart of our business,” Phil McDivitt, Ascend president and CEO, said. “The ADN produced there is a critical building block for nylon 6,6, a high-performance plastic used in a variety of products from life-saving vehicle airbags to high-voltage electrical conductors.”

Ascend’s site in Decatur is one of only four plants in the world that produce ADN on a large scale.

Governor Kay Ivey said, “It’s always great to see a world-class manufacturer like Ascend decide to include Alabama in its growth plans.”

MasTec Power Corp., a subsidiary of MasTec Inc., was selected as the prime contractor, bringing  its 35 years of experience to provide innovative turnkey engineer, procure and construction solutions and support to the project. Construction will begin in the second quarter of 2020 and end in late 2021.

“MasTec Power Corp. is pleased to be a part of this state-of-the-art power project that maximizes power and heat recovery, reduces Ascend’s carbon footprint and boosts the economies of Decatur and Morgan County,” said Michael Donmoyer, executive vice president of MasTec Power.

According to a story in the TimesDaily, the plant currently uses natural gas, coal and electricity for its power. After the construction of the cogeneration units, the plants will use steam instead of coal. In cogeneration units, heat generated from production of electricity is reused.

The Decatur Industrial Development Board has approved $7.45 million in tax abatements, of which $4.14 million is in property tax abatements that would be divided over 10 years, and $3.32 million in sales and use taxes during construction.

The Ascend plant has been in Decatur for more than 50 years.

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