Riverview Energy Corp. received good news when an Indiana court denied a petition by local opposition groups Southwestern Indiana Citizens for Quality of Life and Valley Watch Inc. to block Riverview’s Title V air permit.

“We are pleased with the court’s decision, of course, and had full confidence in the regulatory diligence that the Indiana Department of Environmental Management applied in vetting and issuing our air permit,” Riverview Energy President Gregory Merle said.

The Indiana Office of Environmental Adjudication denied the petition on all counts cited in the legal challenge.

“It was a full victory on this front, and our next steps are to move forward with the development phase,” Merle said. “That will be a victory for the people of Spencer County, Indiana, and the region.”

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency also denied a similar petition from the same two local opposition groups last spring. That denial went unchallenged as of the deadline to appeal in August 2020.

Riverview Energy said it is on track to contribute significantly to the green-hydrogen economy as the first U.S. direct coal-hydrogenation refinery, which will produce ultra-low-sulfur diesel that is 30% cleaner than the ULSD standard. The Dale, Indiana, plant will be the first greenfield refinery permitted in almost 50 years.

The Riverview Energy plant will use a Nobel-Prize winning process that Russia and China are already using. With the direct coal-hydrogenation process, coal particles are processed via a carbon-free method that does not burn or gasify the coal. From there, the particles are hydrogenated in a closed system at high pressure and temperature.

“The plant will have a significantly lower carbon foot-print than other technologies, and nothing will go to waste,” Merle said. “All the plant’s products will be marketable — and with stricter federal regulations in auto fuel efficiency and now in global marine shipping, the market is prime for this innovative process that uses the U.S’s vast coal resources in a highly clean process.”

Merle said the Dale plant is just the starting point for Riverview Energy’s operations. The company plans to build more plants in the future and make the coal-hydrogenation process a valuable part of the U.S. energy independence mix.