Ascend Performance Materials announced that it has finalized plans for a $175 million project to expand production capacity at its Decatur manufacturing facility and construct energy cogeneration units at the site.
The project will add 10 high-end manufacturing jobs to Houston-based Ascend’s Alabama workforce, which exceeds 400 people. The cogeneration units will reduce emissions at the facility by 60 percent.
In addition, the construction project at the Ascend facility — one of only four in the world that produces adiponitrile, or ADN, on a large scale — will generate 150 skilled jobs by its completion.
“The Decatur community is at the heart of our business,” said Phil McDivitt, Ascend’s president and CEO. “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 connectors.”
The Ascend plant has been an integral part of the Decatur and Morgan County communities for over 50 years.
“Ascend Performance Materials’ facility has been an important part of Decatur’s business community for decades, and I’m pleased to see the company build on the partnership it has formed in Morgan County with this major investment,” Governor Kay Ivey said.
“It’s always great to see a world-class manufacturer like Ascend decide to include Alabama in its growth plans.”
Ascend’s board of directors gave final approval for the project, subject to finalized agreements with the State of Alabama, the Morgan County Economic Development Association and the City of Decatur.
“Ascend’s investment will increase the sustainability of its Decatur’s manufacturing facility, allowing it to expand production and substantially reduce emissions,” said Greg Canfield, secretary of the Alabama Department of Commerce.
“That’s welcome news for Ascend’s Decatur workforce, and this project will provide an economic boost for the entire community.”
Officials in Morgan County said Ascend’s growth plans underscore the Decatur area’s emergence as a manufacturing center of excellence in the Southeast.
“It is an exciting time for North Alabama, and Ascend’s project shows our area is well poised to support many diverse industries,” said State Sen. Arthur Orr, who serves as chairman of the Morgan County Economic Development Association.
“Additionally, because of the large capital investment, this project will mean significant additional revenues for our local schools and governments.”
Morgan County Commission Chairman Ray Long said Ascend’s expansion will have a positive impact in the Decatur region. “This project proves the strength of our economy and the community commitment of our local companies,” Long said.
“On behalf of the City of Decatur, we are honored by Ascend’s announcement here in our community and excited for the years of prosperity ahead,” Decatur Mayor Tab Bowling added.
MasTec Power Corp., which was selected to serve as the prime contractor for the project, plans to begin construction in the second quarter of 2020, with completion set for late 2021.
“MasTec Power Corp. is pleased and proud 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, Alabama, and Morgan County,” said Michael Donmoyer, executive vice president, MasTec Power.