Enerkem project receives $5.5 million for biofuels project

Adam Dras   

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Enerkem, a company involved in the production of biofuels from waste materials, received $5.5 million in funding as part of the Clean Resource Innovation Network (CRIN) Low Emissions Fuels and Products Technology Competition for its Integration of Advanced Carbon Recycling Technologies to Produce Sustainable Drop-in Fuels in Canada.
“Our project makes a critical link between the agricultural and forestry sectors in that we take waste biomass from these sectors and produce a fuel product that is compatible with the oil and gas supply chain. In doing this, we are able to leverage the strength of two of Canada’s strongest industry sectors to drastically diversify and improve the fuel supply of the transportation sector,” said Michel Chornet, Enerkem’s executive vice president, engineering, innovation and operations.
The main objective of the project is to validate a solution that can directly provide low-carbon fuel to the heavy transportation sector, making a significant sustainability impact, while simplifying both the manufacturing process and supply chain requirements.
Technically, the project combines technologies to produce a low-carbon, diesel fuel blend from sustainable feedstock including forestry and agricultural residue and potentially also urban waste, using the Enerkem gasification technology and INFRA’s proprietary catalyst system, while avoiding energy intensive and cost intensive refining and upgrading processes.
From a supply chain standpoint, the team’s solution will provide the ability to produce a liquid fuel that is fully compatible with existing fuel blending, distribution and retail infrastructure. This constitutes an advantage, as the low-carbon fuel could be delivered today using Canada’s existing infrastructure.
This major project was led by Enerkem’s research and development team based in Edmonton, Alta. in collaboration with Suncor Energy and Infra Synthetic Fuels Inc. (INFRA). By combining Enerkem’s feedstock flexible gasification technology with INFRA’s advanced Fischer-Tropsch technology, the team was able to use sustainable feedstocks in a cost-effective process that avoids the cost and energy intensity typically required to upgrade Fischer-Tropsch products to Fuel Grade.
This project hopes to demonstrate the integration of Enerkem’s and INFRA’s technologies at an appropriate scale and will try and provide critical design information for future commercial deployments.
Ideally, this will lead to the first 1,500 BPD waste-derived low-carbon renewable diesel production facility in Canada.

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