Enerkem starts drop-in renewable fuels R&D
Enerkem Inc. announced the launch of a new research project with the government of Canada. The objective of the project is to develop new catalytic processes for the conversion of waste into drop-in biofuels that are fully interchangeable with hydrocarbon fuels, such as conventional gasoline, diesel and jet fuel.
“Enerkem’s core business is the commercial production of cellulosic ethanol, and we now intend to take advantage of our flexible technology platform to gradually expand our line of biofuels and chemical products,” said Vincent Chornet, president and CEO of Enerkem. “This research project is part of our growth strategy and demonstrates our commitment towards innovation and a greener economy.”
The government of Canada is contributing $1.1 million to this project via Natural Resources Canada. “Through the ecoENERGY Innovation Initiative, our government is investing in innovative clean energy technologies that create jobs, generate new economic opportunities and protect the environment,” said Minister of Natural Resources Joe Oliver. “This program demonstrates our tangible support for energy projects that drive energy innovation.”
Enerkem’s technology produces a chemical-grade synthesis gas that serves as a key intermediate for the production of renewable fuels and chemicals. The project will be conducted at Enerkem’s research and development pilot facility in Sherbrooke, Quebec, in collaboration with the University of Sherbrooke
Construction of the Enerkem Alberta Biofuels facility is progressing well in Edmonton. Prefabricated modules are being delivered and installed at a steady pace. Twenty-eight permanent employees are now working full-time at the plant (engineers, operators, technicians, etc.) in preparation for commissioning which should begin during the summer. Methanol production will gradually start during commissioning and will be followed by ethanol production in 2014.