World’s first municipal waste-to-biofuels plant opens in Edmonton

Quebec’s Enerkem, a company that specializes in creating renewable biofuels and chemicals from municipal waste, has opened what it calls the “world’s first, game-changing full-scale waste-to-biofuels and chemicals facility” in the city of Edmonton, Alberta. It is the first “commercial advanced biorefinery to exclusively use municipal solid waste.” The company claims that any fuel, chemical and everyday product that can be made from petroleum can be made “from garbage.”

The company says its breakthrough technology, which uses garbage instead of fossil sources to produce chemicals and liquid transportation fuels, will become a model for communities and industries around the world.

landfill-enerkem-biofuel-natural-gas-methanol-ethanol-butanol-propanol-garbage-clean-energy-greenhouse-gas-EDIWeekly
When fully operational, Edmonton’s waste-to-biofuel plant will help the city reach a 90 per cent diversion rate of solid waste from landfill, higher than most North American cities.

Once the facility is in full production by 2016, processing 100,000 tonnes of municipal waste, Edmonton will achieve a 90 per cent diversion rate of waste from landfills. The city currently diverts 60 per cent of waste, making it one of the most successful North American cities for waste diversion.

The product of that waste will be 38 million litres of methanol, enough to fuel 400,000 cars with ethanol as well as other products for daily use that can be derived from the gas.

The thermochemical process used by Enerkem breaks down the waste material using heat, and converts it into a gas that is as clean as natural gas, said a spokesman for the Alberta government. That gas is then converted to liquid methanol, and the whole process takes just three minutes. The methanol is used to produce ethanol, which can be used as a fuel for cars. The methanol can also be used as an end product. or further processed to create secondary chemicals, such as acrylic acid, n-Propanol, and n-Butanol.

Enerkem says it has “validated” the technology over ten years of tests with municipal solid waste. The process works at “relatively” low temperatures, a fact that reduces energy consumption and costs. The biofuel itself can reduce greenhouse gases by more than 60 per cent compared to those of gasoline. Water used in the process is reused in a closed circuit.

Did you miss this?

Other Popular Stories

  • Space X's Falcon Heavy could explode with the force of a nuclear weapon; over 1400 airline flights delayed by space launches in 2018
  • Technicians, technologists enjoy good jobs prospects, higher than average earnings
  • $26 Trillion needed over 13 years to power infrastructure for world's fastest growing economies
  • First LNG-powered ferry to begin service in Quebec
  • U.S. and Mexico resume talks for NAFTA auto agreement — door open for Canada to return to negotiations
  • Tesla Model S earns near-perfect score from Consumer Reports
  • Helicopter flight simulator to train offshore rig pilots in Newfoundland
  • Oil drags capital spending down, though some bright spots remain: Statistics Canada
  • World's fastest electric car sets new performance benchmark for EVs
  • Acquisition of SABMiller makes Molson Coors third-largest brewer in the world
  • TransCanada's Keystone XL pipeline clears last hurdle in $10 billion project as Nebraska approves 3 to 2
  • Canadian company to provide modular housing for refugees in Sweden
  • Short list announced for Green Car of the Year
  • Honda hopes to catch up on Autonomous driving and electric vehicle technology — by 2025
  • FirstEnergy of Calgary to host ninth London Global Energy Conference
  • Real-time oil leak tracking with PAH sensor from Norwegian Geotechnical Institute can precisely measure hydrocarbons in water around oil wells
  • NASA learns from the birds for the next generation in “Smart” dynamic wing design
  • Clean energy expected to surge as pv costs drop
  • Honda expansion a win for Ontario's auto sector
  • Canada-France space agencies test stratosphere balloon in Ontario
Scroll to Top