Bioenergy

Enerkem Biofuel & Biochemical Plant Enters Start-up Phase

Enerkem Inc., a biofuels and biochemicals technology company, announced that its first commercial-scale plant located in Westbury, Quebec, is entering the start-up phase and will soon begin production of the company’s clean conditioned synthesis gas.

Construction on the plant began in October 2007 and the facility was mechanically complete in December 2008. The conditioned synthesis gas (syngas) production island has been completed and is in an advanced commissioning stage in preparation for its upcoming start-up.

The premium syngas island serves as the chemical production platform, from which methanol and ethanol production modules will be added over the next few months. Once these gas-to-liquid modules are bolted to the syngas island, Enerkem will become a commercial producer of liquid fuels and green chemicals that are made from renewable, non-food, negative-cost feedstock.

“The conditioned synthesis gas island is the core of our technology platform as it is where we produce a clean tailored syngas that serves as a chemical source for the production of advanced biofuels and biochemicals,” said Vincent Chornet, president and CEO of Enerkem. “We have followed a rigorous path to commercialization since the beginning of our pilot plant back in 2003 and we intend to apply the same disciplined approach at Westbury. The first step is our premium syngas which leads to our goal of becoming a world leader in the production of second-generation transportation fuels and green chemicals.”

The company’s Westbury plant will process treated wood from used electricity poles. It is operated by a team of 13 people and will, at full capacity, produce 5 million liters (1.3 million gallons) of second-generation ethanol annually. The Enerkem thermo-chemical process uses 1 tonne of waste to produce 360 liters (95 gallons) of ethanol.