Enerkem: Biofuels Digest’s 5-Minute Guide (Q1 2013 update)

| January 8, 2013

Enerkem

Address: 1130 Sherbrooke Street West, Suite 1500

Montreal, Quebec H3A 2M8, Canada

Year Founded: 2000

Annual Revenues: undisclosed – private company

Company description: Enerkem develops biofuels and chemicals from waste. With its proprietary thermochemical technology, Enerkem converts abundantly available municipal solid waste (mixed textiles, plastics, fibers, wood and other non-recyclable waste materials) into chemical-grade syngas, and then methanol, ethanol and other chemical intermediates that form everyday products. By using waste instead of fossil fuels, Enerkem addresses the growing demand for renewable energy sources and chemicals, while reducing landfill volumes and greenhouse gas emissions. Headquartered in Montreal, Canada, the company currently operates both a pilot and a demonstration facility in Québec, has its first waste-to-biofuels full-scale commercial plant under construction in Edmonton, Alberta, and is developing similar facilities in Pontotoc, Mississippi and in Varennes, Quebec.

Latest News

Landed #18 in the 50 Hottest Companies in Bioenergy

Landed #23 in the 30 Hottest Companies in Renewable Chemicals

Major Investors (if a public company, please provide trading symbol and exchange).

Enerkem is a private company founded in 2000 by its current senior management. It is majority-owned by institutional, clean-technology and industrial investors, including Rho Ventures, Braemar Energy Ventures, Waste Management (NYSE:WM), Valero (NYSE: VLO), BDR Capital, Cycle Capital, The Westly Group, Fondaction CSN and Quince Associates, L.P.

 

3 Top Milestones for 2009-11

 

  1. Commercial facility developments: Started construction of its first full-scale commercial plant in Edmonton, Alberta (Canada) and continued development of similar commercial projects in the U.S. and Canada including a facility in Pontotoc, Mississippi

 

  1. Technological achievement and scale-up: Successful production of chemical-grade syngas and biomethanol at Enerkem’s demonstration facility in Westbury. These achievements further validated the company’s capability of producing a chemical-grade syngas from waste and converting it into alcohols using well-established catalytic reactions, as already proven at Enerkem’s pilot plant in Sherbrooke.

 

  1. Financial support for growth: From 2009 to 2011, Enerkem has raised a total of US$160 million in financing, both at the corporate and project subsidiary levels. Waste Management and Valero joined as strategic investors in the company. Enerkem was also awarded financial support (cost-share program and loan guarantee) for a total of US$130 million from the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) and the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) for a U.S. plant in Mississippi.

 

 

3 Major Milestone Goals for 2013-15

 

  1. Began ethanol production from waste at Westbury demonstration facility (in addition to the ethanol already produced at its pilot facility before) – announced June 7, 2012: click here for news release

 

  1. Beginning of operations at Edmonton waste-to-biofuels facility – expected in 2013. Expected to ready the facility for methanol production in 2013 and then to convert it to produce ethanol from the methanol.

 

  1. Construction of Varennes facility expected to begin by start of 2014 – project announced February 6, 2012: click here for news release

 

 

Business Model: (e.g. owner-operator, technology licensor, fee-based industry supplier, investor)

 

Owner-operator / Technology licensor – Enerkem is quickly moving towards commercialization with full-scale biofuels plants it will build, own and operate. Enerkem builds its facilities near the raw material supply sites, and uses the end waste that would otherwise be landfilled. The plants are compact, modular and scalable for ease of replication. They are based on a standardized system. In order to accelerate market penetration, Enerkem also plans to sell systems utilizing its proprietary technology platform to strategic partners in North America and internationally. It has entered into strategic development agreements with Waste Management and Valero.

 

 

Competitive Edge(s): Enerkem is uniquely positioned to recover the abundant supply of non-recyclable waste to profitably produce second-generation biofuels and green chemicals. Its waste-based biofuels provide one of the most advanced solutions to the growing world demand for renewable biofuels, while also addressing the challenges associated with waste disposal and GHG emissions.

 

The company today produces methanol and cellulosic ethanol from waste, using its proprietary thermochemical technology platform. Its Westbury demonstration facility is one of the largest thermochemical facilities to process heterogeneous waste material as feedstock.

 

Enerkem is a leader in the advanced biofuels sector. Its full-scale commercial waste-to-biofuels facility currently under construction in Edmonton, Alberta, is part of the first wave of cellulosic biofuels projects in the world.

 

Enerkem’s business model and technology platform are expected to generate competitive production cost economics. Using MSW as a feedstock provides a cost advantage as the company is paid to use the material. With its modular, copy-exact and scalable approach, Enerkem is expected to further reduce operating and capital costs as it builds larger facilities and benefit from economies of scale and increased energy efficiency. Also, Enerkem’s proprietary thermochemical technology operates at low-severity conditions which significantly reduce operating and capital costs due to lower temperature, pressure and energy requirements.

 

The company also plans to continue to innovate and deploy new products: the chemical-grade syngas produced by Enerkem can be used to create chemical intermediates that form a wide range of everyday products, such as paints, coatings for textiles, and perfumes.

 

 

Research, or Manufacturing Partnerships or Alliances.

 

R&D partnerships:

  • University of Sherbrooke
  • Alberta Innovates
  • U.S. National Renewable Energy Laboratory
  • Natural Resources Canada

 

Strategic partnerships:

  • Waste Management
  • Valero Energy Corporation
  • GreenField Ethanol

 

Stage (Bench, pilot, demonstration, commercial):

Commercial – It should be noted that Enerkem’s first full-scale commercial facility in Edmonton, AB (Canada) is currently under construction. Operations are expected to begin in 2013.

 

Website URL: www.enerkem.com

 

Location: SHERBROOKE, QUEBEC, CANADA – Pilot plant and research center

 

Materials or products produced: Small quantities of syngas, methanol, acetates
and second-generation ethanol

 

Capacity (Millions of US gallons per years) N/A

 

Year, month in service: 2003

 

Status: (Open, Under Construction, Planned): Open

 

Feedstock: To date, over 25 different types of feedstocks have been used to test and validate the technology, and for engineering design purposes. These feedstocks include municipal solid waste, wood chips, treated wood, sludge, petcoke, spent plastics and wheat straw.

 

Processing technology: Thermochemical

 

Project notes, if any N/A

 

EPC partner, if any N/A

 

Project information

 

 

Location: WESTBURY, QUEBEC, CANADA – Demonstration facility

 

Materials or products produced: Methanol and cellulosic ethanol

 

Capacity (Millions of US gallons per years) 1.3 million gallons per year (methanol)

 

Year, month in service Operations started in 2009 (syngas), 2011 (methanol), 2012 (ethanol)

 

Status: Open

 

Feedstock: Used electricity poles, mixed waste

 

Processing technology: Thermochemical

 

Project notes, if any We believe that the Westbury facility is one of the largest thermochemical facilities to process heterogeneous waste material as feedstock.

 

EPC partner, if any N/A

 

 

Location: EDMONTON, ALBERTA, CANADA – Full-scale commercial facility

 

Materials or products produced: Methanol and cellulosic ethanol

 

Capacity (Millions of US gallons per years) 10 MGPY

 

Year, month in service Operations are expected to begin in 2013 (methanol) followed by ethanol

 

Status: Under construction

 

Feedstock: Sorted municipal solid waste

 

Processing technology: Thermochemical

 

Project notes, if any We believe the Edmonton facility is the first collaboration between a waste-to-biofuels company and a metropolitan center to address its waste disposal challenges.

 

EPC partner, if any

 

 

 

Location: VARENNES, QUEBEC, CANADA – Full-scale commercial facility

 

Materials or products produced: Methanol and cellulosic ethanol

 

Capacity (Millions of US gallons per years) 10 MGPY

 

Year, month in service 2015

 

Status: Under development

 

Feedstock: Sorted industrial, commercial and institutional waste

 

Processing technology: Thermochemical

 

Project notes, if any Joint venture partnership (50/50) with one of the largest ethanol producers in Canada, namely GreenField Ethanol. The integration with a first-generation ethanol production facility will allow us to take advantage of certain existing infrastructure at the site (e.g. site roads, utilities and ethanol handling facilities).

 

EPC partner, if any

 

 

Location: PONTOTOC, MISSISSIPPI – Full-scale commercial facility

 

Materials or products produced: Methanol and cellulosic ethanol

Capacity (Millions of US gallons per years) 10 MGPY

 

Year, month in service 2015

 

Status: Under development

 

Feedstock: Sorted municipal solid waste

 

Processing technology: Thermochemical

Project notes, if any This project has been selected to receive up to US$ 50 million from the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE), as well as a conditional commitment in January 2011 for an US $80 million loan guarantee by the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA). The project has successfully met federal environmental assessment requirements.

EPC partner, if any



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