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Waste-to-biofuels company Enerkem raises C$280M, its largest financing round

Canada-based Enerkem Inc., a leading waste-to-biofuels and chemicals producer, has completed a C$280-million (US$223 million) investment round—its largest to date. In addition to new investors BlackRock and Sinobioway, existing investors also participated in this financing.

In January, Enerkem signed an agreement with Sinobioway Group worth more than C$125 million (US$100 million) in the form of equity investment in Enerkem, future licenses, equipment manufacturing and sales, as well as for the creation of a major joint venture that will lead the construction of more than 100 Enerkem state-of-the-art facilities in China by 2035.

Enerkem’s platform is a 4-step thermochemical process that consists of feedstock preparation; gasification; cleaning and conditioning of syngas; and catalytic synthesis. The technology converts non-recyclable, non-compostable municipal solid waste into methanol, ethanol and other widely-used chemicals.


In November 2017, Enerkem received approval from the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to sell cellulosic ethanol produced at its Edmonton facility under the US Renewable Fuels Standard (RFS). Enerkem is now registered for D3 Renewable identification numbers (RINs) credits. These RIN credits are purchased by US refiners to comply with the RFS program. The EPA has established that cellulosic biofuels reduce greenhouse gas emissions by at least 60% when compared to gasoline. (Earlier post.)

This new and significant financing will help accelerate our growth and further expand project development and implementation. Now that we have launched the world’s first commercial-scale bioethanol operation in Edmonton, we can focus our efforts on building a strong circular economy for communities around the world by deploying new facilities that address the growing challenges related to waste management and sustainable mobility.

— Enerkem President and CEO Vincent Chornet

Existing Enerkem investors include Rho Ventures, Braemar Energy Ventures, Waste Management of Canada, Investissement Québec, Fonds de solidarité FTQ, Cycle Capital, Fondaction, The Westly Group, and the National Bank of Canada.

BlackRock is a global leading investment management corporation, managing close to six trillion dollars in assets on behalf of investors worldwide. BlackRock operates globally with 70 offices in 30 countries and clients in 100 countries.

Sinobioway is a leading Chinese company engaged in the bio-economy. This industrial group, affiliated with Peking University, primarily invests in bio-energy, bio-environmental protection, bio-medicine, bio-agriculture, bio-service, bio-manufacturing, and bio-intelligence.

Enerkem operates a full-scale commercial facility in Alberta as well as an innovation centre in Québec. Enerkem’s facilities are built as prefabricated systems based on the company’s modular manufacturing infrastructure that can be deployed globally.



This could have been started back in the 70s during the embargoes.


Over 100 cities are planned to be equipped in China by 2030/2040.


The technology didn't exist in the 1970's.

The gasifier tech appears to have two significant deficiencies:

  1. It doesn't inherently crack tars or separate ash well enough to avoid a clean-up step.
  2. It is autothermal, so energy of the feedstock is wasted instead of becoming part of the product stream.
These things will cripple it compared to what is coming.


Exxon built and operated a process development unit (PDU) to demonstrate the performance of their catalytic coal gasification to synthetic natural gas (SNG) process at Baytown, Texas, in 1979.


Exxon's facility encouraged the continued use of coal. Enerchem's plant converts garbage to biofuels, saving landfills while lowering the requirement for fossil fuels.

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