By Deborah Austin Hydro-Chem Co. -- a subsidiary Linde AG, Wiesbaden, Germany -- has formed a strategic alliance agreement with environmental equipment technology firm Startech Environmental Corp. to produce and sell combined Plasma Converter Methanol systems and plants. The packages are designed to produce low-cost methanol from various feedstocks (raw materials) previously regarded as waste or hazardous waste. These are no longer "waste," says the U.S. EPA, if they have undergone certain chemical decomposition processes. Startech's Plasma Converter is an electrochemical system that conducts such processes without combustion. Hydro-Chem, Holly Springs, Ga., produces factory-built industrial gas plants. The two will sell their combined package to end-user customers, says Joseph F. Longo, president of Wilton, Conn.-based Startech. About 150 gallons of methanol will be produced for each ton of waste fed into the converters, Longo says. Methanol is used in preparation of products in the pharmaceuticals, food, and chemicals industries -- and as a liquid fuel.