Canadian biofuels firm, Enerkem has officially inaugurated its first full-scale municipal waste-to-biofuels and chemicals facility in Edmonton, Alberta.
The facility, operated by Enerkem Alberta Biofuels, is said to be among the first of its kind in the world.
The facility will have a production capacity of up to 38 million litres per year, is expected to help the City of Edmonton increase its residential waste landfill diversion rate to 90%, and generate net economic spending in the local area of nearly C$ 65 million annually.
The plant was officially inaugurated today by Enerkem's President and CEO, Vincent Chornet, the Mayor of the City of Edmonton, Don Iveson from and the Honourable Robin Campbell, Minister of Environment and Sustainable Resource Development, and Government House Leader, representing the Government of Alberta.
"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,” commented Chornet.
This facility, operated by Enerkem Alberta Biofuels, is claimed to be among the world's first commercial facilities to be built for the production of renewable chemicals and advanced biofuels.
According to Enerkem its technology platform is a 4-step thermochemical process that consists of:
1. Feedstock preparation
3. Cleaning and conditioning of syngas
4. Catalytic synthesis.
The process converts mixed waste and residues into a pure syngas which Enerkem said is suitable for the production of biofuels and chemicals using commercially available catalysts.
Using proprietary technology platform, the company said that the process is able to chemically recycle the carbon molecules from non-recyclable residual waste into a number of products.
Enerkem’s primary focus is the commercial production of cellulosic ethanol. To achieve this, the process first requires the production of methanol as a chemical building block for ethanol.
According to the company the process uses relatively low temperatures and pressures, which reduces energy requirements and costs.
Enerkem explained that the start-up of the biorefinery follows a rigorous commissioning plan which is nearing completion. Biomethanol production will begin progressively during the start-up.
The company added that an additional module for converting the biomethanol into advanced ethanol will be installed by the end of 2015.
The project has been developed by a collaboration between Enerkem, the City of Edmonton and Alberta Innovates - Energy and Environment Solutions.
According to Enerkem, during its construction, more than 600 direct and indirect jobs were created for the modular manufacturing of the facility's systems and their on-site assembly.
This story is also covered in this week's WMW Newscast below.
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