Next Wave Energy Partners has made a final investment decision (FID) to build an ethylene-to-alkylate production facility in Pasadena, Texas, US.

The plant, named Project Traveler, will be located near the Houston Ship Channel at Next Wave’s 53-acre site in Pasadena and will have a capacity to produce 28,000 bbl/day of alkylate.

Next Wave said that it can consume over 1.2bn pounds annually of ethylene and will receive the feedstock from numerous pipelines. It can also receive feedstock and deliver the product by rail.

At the facility, the US-based company will convert a quantity of of North America’s ethylene supply to alkylate by using licensed and commercially proven process technologies.

Initial production is expected to commence in mid-2022. Next Wave has already secured long-term customer contracts for the majority of the facility’s output.

Energy Capital Partners and members of Next Wave’s senior management are providing equity financing for Project Traveler.

Next Wave did not reveal the cost of the project.

Next Wave president and CEO Michael Bloesch said: “Our technical team has invested considerable time and effort in the design of the facility, which includes the built-in ability to cost-effectively expand production capacity in the future.

“Working with potential suppliers and offtake partners, we have already commenced engineering for a second alkylation unit at our Pasadena site to capitalize on incremental demand for our services.

“We believe our premier location near the Houston Ship Channel offers our customers unsurpassed connectivity to feedstock supply, product offtake and gasoline blending and distribution infrastructure.”

The construction of the ethylene-to-alkylate facility will create 750 jobs

During the construction phase, the project will generate up to 750 jobs and nearly 30 direct permanent jobs once completed.

Next Wave executive chairman Patrick Diamond said: “Project Traveler was conceived to benefit from two important trends in our industry – growing demand for additional octane and abundant domestic supplies of natural gas liquids and their derivatives.

“By starting with a chemically pure feedstock and thereby avoiding the feedstock constraints typically found in refinery alkylation, our facility will produce one of the highest-quality alkylate products available in North America, which is particularly attractive for blending the cleaner-burning gasoline required by the high performance engines of today and tomorrow.”