Canadian Government Invests in Quebec Ethanol Plant

Project is expected to convert 100,000 metric tons of solid waste into ethanol.

October 2, 2013
REW Staff
The Canadian government, through its Sustainable Development Technology Canada (SDTC) NextGen Biofuels Fund, has invested nearly 734,500 Canadian dollars ($708,000) in Vanerco, a joint venture partnership formed by Enerkem Inc. and GreenField. The partnership is seeking to build and operate a cellulosic ethanol facility Varennes, Quebec. 

Enerkem is a waste-to-biofuels and renewable chemicals company based in Montreal. GreenField is the leading specialty alcohols provider in Canada.

Funding from SDTC for the project, which will use Enerkem’s technology, could reach CA$39.8 million. The funding is repayable from free-cash flow once the project demonstrates commercial success. The technology is a thermochemical process that is being demonstrated at a pilot project in Westbury, Quebec. 

At full capacity, the Varennes facility is expected to convert 100,000 metric tons per year of solid waste into 38 million liters of cellulosic ethanol. 

“Our government is investing in advanced clean energy technologies that create well-paying jobs and generate economic opportunities,” says Joe Oliver, Canada’s Minister of Natural Resources. “By supporting innovative projects like Vanerco’s, we are helping Canadian companies develop an idea into a marketable reality.”

Vicky Sharpe, SDTC’s president and CEO, says, “This project truly puts industrial waste to work, creating jobs in the community while producing as much as 38 million liters of ethanol a year. SDTC is proud to be a partner in this pioneering project.” 

Sharpe adds, “Getting technologies such as this to a commercial scale will be crucial in helping Canada play a key role in the dynamic global cleantech marketplace, currently valued at $1 trillion.”

Vanerco Chairman Vincent Chornet, says, “We are proud to have SDTC as a partner in our waste-to-biofuels project in Varennes, which is one of the first integrations between an existing, first generation ethanol plant and a new cellulosic ethanol facility.”

Chornet continues, “By producing liquid transportation fuel from nonrecyclable waste, this commercial facility will further contribute to the development of the next generation biofuels sector in Canada which will, in turn, stimulate the manufacturing sector as well as regional economies, create jobs, reduce oil dependence and imports, generate value from waste and residues and position Canada at the forefront of the global clean technology sector.”