Enerkem begins ethanol from waste production
Proprietary technology converts MSW
Enerkem Inc. has begun their initial production of cellulosic ethanol from waste materials at a demonstration facility in Westbury, Quebec.
“The start of ethanol production at our Westbury facility is a significant milestone”, said Vincent Chornet, President and Chief Executive Officer of Enerkem. “Enerkem has already produced cellulosic ethanol at its smaller scale pilot laboratory facility in Sherbrooke. This achievement in Westbury allows us to confirm the process design of our proprietary methanol-to-ethanol technology for its deployment at Enerkem’s full-scale commercial plants in Edmonton and other locations.”
Using its proprietary thermochemical technology, Enerkem converts abundantly available municipal solid waste (mixed textiles, plastics, fibres, wood and other non-recyclable waste materials) into chemical-grade syngas, and then methanol, ethanol and other chemical intermediates that form everyday products.
The newly installed equipment at Westbury is designed for the conversion of methanol into cellulosic ethanol, and is now used in combination with the larger methanol equipment already in operation at the facility.
According to Enerkem, Westbury was built in phases, in line with the three main steps of Enerkem’s process. The facility is also part of a comprehensive program to scale-up the company’s proprietary technology, which has been developed and tested for more than a decade at both Enerkem’s pilot laboratory facility in Sherbrooke, Québec, and at the Westbury demonstration plant.
The primary purpose of the Westbury facility is to validate the technology process design before full-scale commercial production, to test various waste feedstocks coming from customers and partners, as well as to continuously improve the technology. The construction of the Westbury facility was supported by the Québec Ministry of Natural Resources and Wildlife as well as Sustainable Development Technology Canada.
Enerkem says that by using waste instead of fossil fuels, they address the growing demand for renewable energy sources and chemicals, while reducing landfill volumes and greenhouse gas emissions.
Headquartered in Montreal, Canada, Enerkem currently operates both a pilot and a commercial demonstration facility in Québec, has its first waste-to-biofuels full-scale commercial plant under construction in Edmonton, Alberta, and is developing several similar facilities in the U.S. and Canada that will convert municipal solid waste into biofuels and chemicals.