Enerkem Begins Commercial Production of Cellulosic Ethanol

The company’s facility in Canada is the first commercial-scale plant in the world to produce cellulosic ethanol made from non-recyclable, non-compostable mixed municipal solid waste.

A picture of Enerkem's state-of-the-art Edmonton biofuels facility, the world's first commercial-scale plant to produce cellulosic ethanol made from non-recyclable, non-compostable mixed municipal solid waste. (CNW Group/Enerkem Inc.)
Enerkem’s Edmonton biofuels facility, the world’s first commercial-scale plant to produce cellulosic ethanol made from non-recyclable, non-compostable mixed municipal solid waste.

Enerkem Inc., a Canadian producer of biofuels and renewable chemicals, started the commercial production of cellulosic ethanol at its facility in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada. The plant is the first commercial-scale manufactory in the world to produce cellulosic ethanol from non-recyclable, non-compostable mixed municipal solid waste.

The company has been producing and commercializing biomethanol since 2016. The methanol-to-ethanol conversion unit was installed earlier this year. The ethanol global market is anticipated to reach 124 billion liters per year by 2030, according to the International Renewable Energy Agency.

Advanced biofuels, such as cellulosic ethanol, are made from non-food sources like residual forest biomass, agriculture waste, energy crops and urban waste. Through new technologies, these sources are transformed into transportation fuels that replace a portion of gasoline. In addition, aside from the benefit of a clean transportation fuel, Enerkem’s technology also disrupts the traditional waste landfilling and incineration models.

“The commercial production of cellulosic ethanol at our facility in Edmonton marks a landmark moment for our company as well as our customers in the waste management and petrochemical sectors, and confirms our leadership in the advanced biofuels market,” Vincent Chornet, president & CEO of Enerkem, said in prepared remarks. “We will now progressively increase production in Edmonton, while preparing to build the next Enerkem facilities locally and around the world.”

Image courtesy of Enerkem Inc.