A primary reason global companies work with the Mid-Atlantic Technology, Research & Innovation Center is our highly experienced staff, who average over 25 years in their fields and include over 30 Ph.D. level scientists, researchers and professional engineers.
Some of our staff members were recently featured in West Virginia Edge magazine, as part of an edition highlighting the state’s chemical industry heritage and future development.
In this issue, MATRIC co-founder and chief engineer George Keller II, along with senior chemical engineer Warren Woomer, describe the chemical industry’s emergence in West Virginia, first preceded by the invention of brine electrolysis to make chlorine and hydrogen. “These salt-based chemicals led to the development of other industries in our region,” said Woomer.
However, according to Keller, the turning point in founding the petrochemical industry came in the 1920s, when engineers created a process to heat and “crack” ethane, a natural gas derivative, into ethylene, a feedstock still used in over half the world’s petrochemical products. The first such facility was built in Clendenin, W.Va.
MATRIC, based in South Charleston, W.Va. and established in 2004, recruited some of the industry’s best minds, who continue to revolutionize the petrochemical industry through the creation of technologies that improve traditional resources.
For example, our staff help foster and commercialize new products like biosuccinic acid, a plant-based alternative to conventional succinic acid. We also refined a next generation ethane cracker technology, which is more energy efficient and cost-effective than traditional steam crackers.
MATRIC’s historical perspective and intellectual infrastructure continue to provide a solid foundation that yields innovation.