Waste-to-biofuels and chemicals producer Enerkem has successfully produced a clean, renewable bio-dimethyl ether (Bio-DME), a by-product of biomethanol, that could replace the use of diesel fuel in the transportation sector.
Using the company’s proprietary thermochemical technology, its innovation group has tested and validated the production of fuel-grade bio-DME made from unrecoverable carbon-rich municipal solid waste. More than 1,000 hours of operations at its Innovation Centre in Westbury, Quebec have been completed.
Enerkem is currently focused on the commercial production of biomethanol and advanced ethanol as sustainable biofuels replacing gasoline; however, this new development has the potential to expand the company’s biofuels business for the transportation sector.
Diesel fuels are three times more polluting than a waste-derived DME-based fuel.—Dr. Stéphane Marie-Rose, Director of Enerkem's Innovation Centre in Westbury
Bio-DME offers a 20% higher cetane rating on average than diesel or bio-diesel fuels. Moreover, DME combustion does not produce sulfur oxide (SOx) or fine particles, and it contributes to lower emissions from other harmful residual pollutants such as nitrogen oxides (NOx) that are mainly produced from the combustion of fossil-based fuels.
Enerkem intends to further develop and optimize this latest innovation while evaluating its potential commercial applications.