World’s First Waste-To-Biofuels Plant Hopes To Change The Game In Environmentalism

screen shot via YouTube/City of Edmonton

The world’s first waste-to-biofuels plant is now open and running in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada. The plant, owned by Quebec-based cleantech company Enerkem, is the world’s first commercial advanced biorefinery exclusively using solid waste to produce biofuels and chemicals.

“Our breakthrough technology uses garbage instead of fossil sources for the production of chemicals and liquid transportation fuels,” Emerkam president and CEO Vincent Chornet announced via a release. “The completion of this game-changing facility is by far one of the most significant developments the waste and biorefinery sectors have ever seen.”

Enerkem’s new facility is a collaboration between Enerkem, the city of Edmonton and Alberta Innovates – Energy and Environment Solutions and is said to have a production of 38 million liters of biofuels per year. In return for using waste as its main resource, Enerkem says that the collaboration will help Edmonton divert its residential waste diversion to 90 percent by 2016. The project is also meant to boost the city’s economy by indirectly and directly creating more than 600 jobs for the new project.

“The City of Edmonton is a world leader in sustainable waste management and the opening of the waste-to-biofuels and chemicals facility demonstrates our commitment to finding innovative solutions to harness the value in waste,” said Mayor Don Iveson. “This type of leading edge innovation demands a team approach and we’re proud of our partnership with Enerkem and Alberta Innovates – Energy and Environment Solutions.”

We are thrilled that it is becoming a model for many communities and industries around the world,” Chornet added.”

Enerkem estimates a maximum output of 38 million liters of clean fuels and chemicals per year. The biorefinery’s initial plan is to start production of biomethanol, with a goal to add a module to convert biomethanol into advanced ethanol by the end of 2015.