Enerkem starts cellulosic ethanol production at Quebec facility

Enerkem Westbury

Waste-to-biofuels and chemicals company Enerkem has started initial production of cellulosic ethanol from waste at its demonstration facility in Westbury, Quebec, Canada.

Vincent Chornet, Enerkem president and chief executive officer, said the company has already produced cellulosic ethanol at its smaller scale pilot laboratory facility in Sherbrooke, Quebec, Canada.

"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," Chornet added.

At the 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.

"Plant construction was supported by the Quebec Ministry of Natural Resources and Wildlife."

The primary purpose of the Westbury plant 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 improve the technology.

Built in three main phases, the plant construction was supported by the Quebec Ministry of Natural Resources and Wildlife along with the Sustainable Development Technology Canada.

The company is also considering licensing its thermochemical technology which converts municipal solid waste, including mixed textiles, plastics, fibres, wood and other non-recyclable waste materials into chemical-grade syngas, which are then processed into methanol, ethanol and other chemical intermediates.

Image: Enerkem has opened a cellulosic ethanol plant at its Québec waste-to-fuel facility. Photo courtesy of: Enerkem.