MONTREAL—After nearly three years, Enerkem Inc.’s first commercial-scale waste-to-biofuels facility has met all of the production milestones set by its senior backer and the company has begun looking to employ its innovative technology elsewhere.
Officially inaugurated Jun. 4, 2014, the Enerkem Alberta Biofuels facility turns Edmonton’s solid waste into green chemicals such as ethanol and methanol.
The Montreal-based company’s president and CEO Vincent Chornet said April 11 that Enerkem’s Edmonton site is fully-operation and has met the “rigorous” production criteria laid out by Toronto-based finance firm Integrated Asset Management (IAM).
The plant’s biofuel conversion process only takes five minutes and uses wood, textiles, non-recyclable cardboard and plastics as a feedstock.
The facility is helping to increase Edmonton’s waste diversion rate from 50 per cent to 90 per cent. As part of a 25-year contract, the city will supply Enerkem’s plant with 100,00 tonnes of waste a year, and Enerkem in turn can create 38 million litres of biofuel with this waste.
And as the plant eliminates a large portion of the Alberta city’s waste, Chornet said Enerkem is looking for other areas to use its technology.
“This third-party validation comes in at the right time as we are expanding our footprint in North America and Europe,” he said. “Our disruptive solution sets a new standard in waste management, biofuels and chemicals, thus accelerating the transition toward a circular economy where waste becomes a resource to make everyday products.”
In 2016, Enerkem’s Edmonton plant became the world’s first ISCC certified plant (International Sustainability and Carbon Certification) to convert solid waste into biomethanol.
This facility was financed by private sources and received funding support from Sustainable Development Technology Canada, Alberta Innovates and Alberta Energy.