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Enerkem Hits Production Milestones and Starts Commercial Production of Cellulosic Ethanol


Enerkem Alberta Biofuels: world’s first waste-to-biofuels and chemicals commercial facility (photo: Merle Prosofsky).

Enerkem, a biofuel and renewable chemical producer that is headquartered in Montreal and operates a state-of-the-art facility in Edmonton, (Enerkem Alberta Biofuels) recently started the commercial production of cellulosic ethanol.

The Alberta Biofuels facility represents a major innovative collaboration between a city that wishes to increase waste diversion from landfills, and a waste-to-biofuels producer with a unique, disruptive service-offering approach. In 2016, Enerkem obtained certification from the International Sustainability and Carbon Certification (ISCC) system, and in 2017, the company was pleased to be awarded the lowest carbon intensity value ever issued by the British Columbia Ministry of Energy and Mines under the Renewable and Low Carbon Fuel Requirements Regulation. Enerkem is the first commercial plant of its size to produce cellulosic ethanol from non-recyclable, non-compostable municipal waste.

“The commercial production of cellulosic ethanol at our facility in Edmonton marks a landmark moment for our company as well as our customers in the waste management and petrochemical sectors, and it confirms our leadership in the advanced biofuels market,” says Vincent Chornet, president and CEO of Enerkem. “We will now progressively increase production in Edmonton while preparing to build the next Enerkem facilities locally and around the world.”

Biofuels are important in a world that increasingly seeks to distance itself from non-renewable resources, and to reduce, reuse and recycle as much as possible to combat the effects of climate change and resource depletion. Advanced biofuels are a key component in that they provide an alternative, clean fuel for vehicles while simultaneously reducing landfill waste.

Cellulosic ethanol is produced from biological, non-food sources, such as forest mass, agriculture waste, energy crops and urban waste. “To unlock the value of non-conventional feedstock sources, these low-carbon liquid transportation fuels are produced using innovative and breakthrough technologies,” confirms Enerkem in a press release.

The start of cellulosic ethanol production is not the company’s only great news from this year. In April, Enerkem was proud to report that it had hit all of its production milestones in the Edmonton facility, and it had achieved the ability to turn household waste into 99.9 per cent pure liquid chemicals and biofuels in under five minutes.

“The Enerkem Alberta Biofuels facility in Edmonton is fully operational in accordance with very rigorous production criteria,” said Chornet. “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 that can be used to make everyday products.”

“We have been impressed with Enerkem’s discipline and commitment throughout the process of ramping up the world’s first commercial operation of its kind,” added Greg Dimmer, managing director, IAM Private Debt Group. “As Enerkem’s senior lender, we look forward to expanding our partnership through future financing opportunities as the company continues to expand its market outreach.”

Enerkem is on a mission to develop additional biorefineries across the globe, to help diversify the renewable energy mix and to create smarter, greener products. To learn more, visit