Canada JV plans cellulosic ethanol plant in Québec

A waste-to-biofuels joint venture between Enerkem and GreenField Ethanol plans to build a commercial-scale plant in Varennes, Québec, using Enerkem's proprietary technology to convert non-recyclable municipal solid waste into biofuels

The government of Québec said it would inject $27 million into the project.

With a full-scale waste-to-biofuels facility under construction in Edmonton, Alberta, and another one under development in Mississippi, the Varennes facility represents Enerkem's third full-scale commercial project.

"By producing liquid transportation fuel from non-recyclable waste, this facility opens the door to the emergence of a new energy sector and will allow for local sustainable management of our waste materials", declared Vincent Chornet, Enerkem CEO.

"Located on the site of Ethanol GreenField's current plant, this project will represent one of the first integrations between an existing, first generation ethanol plant and a new cellulosic ethanol plant,” Chornet added.

"The construction of this innovative plant on our current site marks the beginning of our transition to an integrated biorefinery in Varennes", said Jean Roberge, general manager of GreenField Ethanol Québec.

"We are pleased to partner with Enerkem and integrate their technology to build Québec's first full-scale commercial cellulosic ethanol plant,” Roberge continued.

“The use of waste materials, that is made possible with Enerkem's technology, complements GreenField Ethanol R&D efforts with other types of biomass.”

This waste-to-biofuels production facility will help reduce greenhouse emissions, fossil fuel imports and landfilled volumes, the companies said.

The non-recyclable waste will come from institutional, commercial and industrial sectors, and from construction and demolition debris.

The anticipated annual production capacity of this plant is approximately 38 million liters/year.

"In addition to presenting a solution to landfilling, today's announcement will enable greenhouse gas emission reductions by about 110,000 metric tons of CO2 per year,” said Minister Clément Gignac.

“Cellulosic ethanol is a renewable fuel that will contribute to reducing our dependence on petroleum products,” Gignac added. “By supporting this project, our government is concretely reinforcing energy security for Québec. Today's announcement puts Québec in an advantageous position in the search for alternatives to fossil fuel consumption.”

"Québec has resolved to reduce, by 2020, its greenhouse gas emissions to 20% below 1990 levels, as part of its 2006-2012 Climate Change Action Plan,” said Minister Sam Hamad. “We believe we can be productive and create wealth and jobs, all while protecting our environment.

“The construction of the cellulosic ethanol facility belonging to the joint venture formed by Enerkem and GreenField Ethanol, is one step closer towards reducing our greenhouse gas emissions.”

The $27 million contribution from the Government of Québec includes $18 million in financial assistance from the Ministry of Natural Resources and Wildlife and a $9 million loan from Investissement Québec.

Officials did not disclose a start-up date for the project.

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