Enerkem opens cellulosic ethanol plant at Québec waste-to-fuel facility

Waste-to-biofuels and chemicals company Enerkem said Thursday that it has begun initial production of cellulosic ethanol from waste materials at its demonstration facility in Westbury, Québec.

"The start of ethanol production at our Westbury facility is a significant milestone", said Vincent Chornet, CEO of Enerkem.

"Enerkem has already produced cellulosic ethanol at its smaller-scale pilot laboratory facility in Sherbrooke,” he continued.

“This new 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.”

Enerkem, which converts garbage into gases that are processed into ethanol and chemicals, is considering licensing its technology, according to a Bloomberg report.

At the Westbury facility, the newly-installed equipment for the conversion of methanol into cellulosic ethanol is now used in combination with the larger methanol equipment already in operation, the company said.

The pioneering facility was built in phases, the company said, in line with the three main steps of Enerkem's process, and was part of a comprehensive program to scale-up its proprietary technology.

This technology has been developed and tested during the past 11 years, at both the pilot laboratory facility in Sherbrooke, Québec, and 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, according to the company.

Investment terms were not disclosed.

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