Biofuels company Enerkem Inc. has announced the start of commercial production of cellulosic ethanol from its biofuels facility in Edmonton, Alberta.
Enerkem's facility in Edmonton is the first commercial-scale plant in the world to produce cellulosic ethanol made from non-recyclable, non-compostable mixed municipal solid waste. The company has been producing and selling biomethanol since 2016, prior to expanding production to include cellulosic ethanol with the installation of its methanol-to-ethanol conversion unit earlier this year.
“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 confirms our leadership in the advanced biofuels market” said Vincent Chornet, President and Chief Executive Officer of Enerkem. “We will now progressively increase production in Edmonton, while preparing to build the next Enerkem facilities locally and around the world”.
The growing global ethanol market is expected to reach 124 billion litres per year by 2030 according to the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA). Advanced biofuels are playing a vital role in the transition of transport away from fossil fuels by replacing a portion of gasoline. Enerkem's technology not only provides a clean transportation fuel, it is also disrupting the traditional processes of waste landfill and incineration by offering a smart alternative to communities wanting to recover waste sustainably while producing green fuels for sustainable mobility.
Advanced biofuels, such as cellulosic ethanol, are made from non-food sources such as residual forest biomass, agriculture waste, energy crops or urban waste. Enerkem’s disruptive proprietary technology converts non-recyclable, non-compostable municipal solid waste into methanol, ethanol and other widely-used chemical intermediates. The company is based in Montreal, Canada, and operates a full-scale commercial facility in Alberta as well as an innovation centre in Quebec. It is also developing additional biorefinery facilities around the world, based on its modular manufacturing infrastructure.