Canadian Manufacturing

Enerkem inaugurates Alberta waste-to-biofuels plant

Biofuels and chemicals facility will have production capacity of as much as 38 million litres per year



EDMONTON—Enerkem Inc. has inaugurated a waste-to-biofuels and chemicals plant in Edmonton, the company’s first commercial-scale biorefinery facility.

“Our breakthrough technology uses garbage instead of fossil sources for the production of chemicals and liquid transportation fuels,” Enerkem president and CEO Vincent Chornet said in a statement.

“We are proud of the inauguration of our first full-scale biorefinery facility as it is the culmination of more than 10 years of disciplined efforts to scale up our technology from pilot and demonstration, to commercial scale.”

One of the world’s first commercial renewable chemical and advanced biofuel production facilities, the plant will begin making biomethanol during start-up.

A module that converts biomethanol into advanced ethanol will be added by the end of 2015, according to the company.

The facility will have a production capacity of as much as 38 million litres per year.

“The completion of this game-changing facility is by far one of the most significant development the waste and biorefinery sectors have seen yet,” Chornet said. “We are thrilled that it is becoming a model for many communities and industries around the world.”

More than 600 direct and indirect jobs were created during construction of the facility, according to Enerkem.

The project was supported by Alberta Innovates-Energy and Environmental Solutions (AI-EES), which worked with the City of Edmonton and Enerkem to optimize the preparation and feeding of municipal solid waste to the gasification process.

“Our collaboration on this project dates back 10 years when our team worked with the City of Edmonton to select a technology that will turn municipal solid wastes into power or biofuels. The Enerkem thermochemical process had clear advantages over many others,” said Dr. Eddy Isaacs, CEO of AI-EES, in an earlier statement.

“We are now so very pleased to see the hard work of planning, developing and testing come to fruition. With the grand opening of the Enerkem Alberta Biofuels facility and the Advanced Energy Research Facility, Alberta has become a global leader in converting municipal wastes into value-added products.”

AI-EES served on the steering committee for the project; providing technical input, along with $29 million in investment.

Enerkem was one of 24 winners of the Climate Change and Emissions Management Corp. (CCEMC) Grand Challenge, claiming a $500,000 grant from the Alberta-based not-for-profit in April.

The funding was awarded for another Enerkem project, aimed at converting carbon from industrial operations and natural gas into chemicals such as propanol, propionic acid and acrylic acid.

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