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Enerkem Commercial-Scale Biomass and Waste to Biofuels and Biochemicals Plant Entering Start-up Phase

Enerkem Inc., the developer of a thermochemical (gasification and catalytic synthesis) process to produce synthetic fuels from biomass and waste (earlier post), said that its pilot commercial-scale plant located in Westbury, Quebec, is entering the start-up phase with the production of its clean conditioned synthesis gas.

The plant ultimately will produce up to 5 million liters (1.3 million gallons) of cellulosic ethanol from creosoted electricity poles and other waste materials. The Enerkem thermochemical process uses one tonne of waste to produce 360 liters (95 gallons) of ethanol.

Construction on the plant began in October 2007 and the facility was mechanically complete in December 2008. The conditioned syngas island has been finalized 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 the methanol and ethanol production modules will be added progressively over the next months.

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.

—Vincent Chornet, President and CEO of Enerkem

Enerkem is a private company financed by leading US venture capital firms Rho Ventures and Braemar Energy Ventures, the Canadian investment fund BDR Capital and the Company’s management.

In June 2008, the city of Edmonton, Alberta, Canada, signed a 25-year agreement with GreenField Ethanol, Canada’s largest ethanol producer, and Enerkem for a facility to produce biofuels from municipal solid waste (MSW).



From therir previous announcement:

"Enerkem says that up to the production of the syngas, its technology uses only around 10% of the energy produced for its internal process needs. The company says that it can produce approximately right times more net energy than a high-temperature technology such as plasma gasification."

(I'm pretty sure eight is right! above - Arn)

"Enerkem says that its process can convert 1 tonne of waste into up to 360 liters (95 gallons US) of ethanol; 100 liters (26 gallons) of potable water; and 150 kg (330 lbs) of char and gasifier inerts."

This is a great setup as described in the previous post.
Given that CCS is implied in the 330lbs of char and gassifier inerts, and ther is a market -ppotential ther. I think this is likely a most viable approach.
The waste delivery is low cost to site, methane emissions from land fill reduced. Municipal requirement for fleet fuel and inhouse fleet servicing and development and control of the whole process sounds ideal.
I this succeeds as envisioned , a very important sector of the economy can show the way.
10 /10!

RIcardo Guiciardini

How does this compare to the Rivera Process in Texas?

Are there commerical plants currently in operation anywhere?

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