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Tacoman Methanol

A Would-Be Refinery

Around 2016, Northwest Innovation Works caught public controversey over their proposition to construct what would have been the largest methanol refinery on the planet on the tideflats of the Port of Tacoma, accompanied by two other potential refineries lining the Pacific northwest coast. The project was especially divisive given its impressive blast zone, location within the Mt. Rainier, projected thirst for public utilities despite the watershed already bordering on insufficiency for supporting the city, proximity to the populace, the hazardous pollutants produced by the refining process, and backing by the Chinese government and British Petroleum through a series of subsidiaries. These refineries would turn liquid natural gas to methanol, which would then be shipped to Dalian, China, where said methanol would be converted to olefins—hydrocarbons used in the production of certain plastics.

While I was creating this infographic, I was planning on following the story by filming an amateur documentary. Funny enough, Northwest Innovation Works cancelled their pursuit of the refinery's construction citing "regulatory issues" before the infographic was even finished.

As of writing this page, Northwest Innovation Works is in the process of achieving regulatory approval for a different methanol refinery of comparable scale in Kalama, Washington. You can read about this further on their site.