Cabinet for Economic Development
Governor Steve Beshear announces $500,000 Economic Development Bond High-Tech Grant to Matrix Engineering in Paducah
FRANKFORT, Ky. — Kentucky Gov. Steve Beshear today announced a $500,000 Economic Development Bond High-Tech Grant from the Kentucky Cabinet for Economic Development for Paducah business, Matrix Engineering PLLC. Matrix, a supplier of petroleum coke feed equipment for the pulp and paper industry, will add $500,000 of its own money to the grant to expand its customer base and expects to bring 20 new high-tech jobs averaging salaries of more than $50,000 to western Kentucky over the next three years.
“I’m delighted to announce this $500,000 grant to Matrix Engineering, a Kentucky company that is providing an alternative energy delivery system to industrial clients across the country,” said Gov. Beshear. “By partnering with Matrix Engineering, we are able to help expand its operations, creating 20 new high-tech jobs in the commonwealth.”
Matrix developed and markets an alternative energy delivery system for industrial clients that not only uses a waste by-product of the petroleum industry, but because of rising oil and natural gas prices, is more affordable than traditional fuel. Petroleum coke (Petcoke) has been in limited use since 1986, but has been gaining momentum in the paper and pulp industry in the past few years.
Matrix is currently leading the way with 12 kiln conversion projects since 2004. The Petcoke delivery system developed by Matrix enables industrial users to convert from fuel oil or natural gas to the Petcoke system, and still provide a reliable and consistent fuel stream to the kiln. The process takes advantage of an abundant supply of petroleum coke and, by removing large industrial users from natural gas, increases the supply that in turn lowers the price of natural gas for the average consumer.
With only one mobile Petcoke delivery unit available to industrial users, Matrix has been limited in its efforts to introduce new customers to the process. The state grant will enable Matrix to have two additional mobile units. Matrix offers potential customers the opportunity for a “trial burn” period with its mobile unit, giving industries a chance to try out this alternative fuel for up to three months before purchasing a permanent Matrix Delivery System. Data has shown that users can recoup a $2 million investment in the system in as little as four to six months through energy savings alone.
“We are extremely pleased to receive this grant and are excited about building two more Mobile Test Systems. These are great marketing tools that generate rental income and allow our potential customers to try an alternative fuel without putting their own capital at risk. Having three of these mobile systems will help us meet current demand and allow us to branch out into other markets besides the pulp and paper industry. This is a major step towards establishing Matrix Engineering as a national premium brand name in the pulverized fuel business,” said Darren Jarvis, partner in Matrix Engineering.
The Innovation and Commercialization Center at Murray State University, which is funded by the Cabinet for Economic Development’s Department of Commercialization and Innovation, worked with Matrix to build its business around the new process by assisting them with a market feasibility study and a business plan, in addition to assisting with the grant proposal. The grant funds will be administered to Matrix through the city of Paducah, which also partnered in the grant application process.
“The expansion of Matrix Engineering fits perfectly with the Department of Commercialization and Innovation’s strategic plan, which encourages the growth of environmental and energy-technology companies in Kentucky,” said Deborah Clayton, commissioner of the Department of Commercialization and Innovation within the Cabinet for Economic Development. “We’re excited to be a part of this project and proud to have Matrix Engineering call Kentucky home.”
“Murray State University, specifically through the Innovation and Commercialization Center, is a proud partner of this initiative and we are looking forward to developing more opportunities for companies like Matrix to expand and succeed throughout our region and the Commonwealth,” said Dr. Randy J. Dunn, president of Murray State University.
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The Kentucky Cabinet for Economic Development is the primary state agency in Kentucky responsible for creating new jobs and new investment in the state. New business investment in Kentucky in 2007 totaled over $2.3 billion with the creation of over 13,400 new jobs. Information on available development sites, workforce training, incentive programs, community profiles, small business development and other resources is available at www.ThinkKentucky.com.