MOSCOW (MRC) -- Enerkem (Montreal, Quebec, Canada) has announced plans to build an 875-million Canadian dollar (USD684-million) waste-to-methanol and biofuels plant in Varennes, Quebec, in partnership with Shell, Suncor, and Proman, according to Chemweek.
The proposed Varennes Carbon Recycling (VCR) facility will be one of the world’s largest renewable hydrogen and oxygen production plants with an 87-megawatt electrolyzer, and convert over 200,000 metric tons of non-recyclable waste and wood waste into nearly 125 million liters/year of biofuels and renewable chemicals, it says. The project would create over 500 jobs during construction and about 100 permanent positions during operations, with estimated yearly recurring economic benefits for Quebec of USD85 million, it adds. A total of CD60 million has so far been invested on development of the project, including site preparations and the obtaining of required permits.
The proposed partnership is subject to finalization of commercial agreements, Enerkem says. Shell, Suncor, and Proman will all be leading investors in the project, with Hydro-Quebec to supply the green hydrogen and oxygen. The project also has the support of the Quebec and Canadian governments, it says.
Enerkem’s proprietary thermochemical process enables the conversion of carbon into biofuels and renewable chemicals made from methanol, which will be the project’s intermediary product, it says. The company operated an initial pilot project in Westbury, Quebec, and its first commercial 38-million liters/year plant producing methanol and ethanol is located in Edmonton, Alberta.
“The further implementation of Enerkem’s unique waste gasification technology will be a significant step towards enabling the wider availability of highly sustainable biomethanol, as part of the global low-carbon energy transition,” says David Cassidy, Proman chief executive. Proman is the world’s second largest producer of methanol.
As MRC reported earlier, in May 2020, NOVA Chemicals Corp. (Calgary, Alberta, Canada) and Enerkem Inc. (Montreal, Quebec, Canada) entered into a joint development agreement to explore turning non-recyclable and non-compostable municipal waste into ethylene, a basic building block of plastics. Working together, the companies will research advanced recycling technology to transform hard-to-recycle municipal waste, including items such as plastics, household waste, and construction materials, into ethylene at full commercial scale. Ethylene, produced from waste, would advance a plastics circular economy and help meet consumer brand goals for recycled content in packaging.
Ethylene is the main feedstock for the production of polyethylene (PE).
According to MRC's ScanPlast report, Russia's estimated PE consumption totalled 1,760,950 tonnes in the first ten months of 2020, up by 3% year on year. Only high density polyethylene (HDPE) and linear low density polyethylene (LLDPE) shipments increased.