Let's face it, garbage isn't a pleasant sight. That is, unless you're the head of Enerkem Alberta Biofuels, the company responsible for converting 100,000 tons of Edmonton's trash over to 36 million liters of biofuel beginning in late 2011. Ripping garbage out of landfills and converting it to a usable fuel is Enerkem's specialty and its recent groundbreaking event in Edmonton, Canada will eventually lead to the creation of what the company claims will be, "the world's first industrial-scale biofuels project to use municipal solid waste as feedstock."
The garbage-to-biofuel facility should be fully operational by late 2011 and will help rid the city of 90 percent of its non-reusable solid waste. The biofuel production facility is expected to reduce Edmonton's greenhouse gas emissions to the same level as removing 42,000 vehicles from the city's roads each year. And here's something else to ponder: Edmonton's garbage trucks may soon begin refueling with biofuels made from the waste that they delivered just days earlier. How's that for a closed loop?
[Source: City of Edmonton]
Imagine Using Household Garbage to Fuel Your Car
Construction has started on the world's first industrial scale municipal waste-to-biofuels facility.
The $80 million facility will be built, owned and operated by Enerkem Alberta Biofuels and will produce 36 million litres of biofuels a year and reduce Alberta's carbon dioxide (CO2) footprint by six million tonnes over the next 25 years-the equivalent of removing 42,000 cars off the road every year.
Alberta Premier Ed Stelmach, Edmonton Mayor Stephen Mandel and Enerkem Chief Executive Officer, Vincent Chornet participated in the groundbreaking event.
The waste-to-biofuels facility is expected to be operational in late 2011. It will convert 100,000 tonnes of municipal solid waste into biofuels annually. It will create over 50 permanent direct and indirect jobs and will contribute to the federal and provincial renewable fuel standards. The feedstock for producing biofuels is municipal solid waste that cannot be recycled or composted and has traditionally been sent to landfill.
"Alberta is an energy province," said Premier Ed Stelmach. "This project is another example of how our government is helping develop leading-edge renewable and non-renewable energy technology. I applaud the vision and dedication the partners have shown to make this pioneering project a reality."
"Edmonton's environmental leadership has us continually looking to set the bar higher," said Edmonton Mayor, Stephen Mandel. "As a result of this facility, we will become the first major city in North America to see 90 per cent of residential waste diverted from landfill by 2013. This is a major achievement, and a big step towards a greener Edmonton! Thanks to all our partners whose innovation and commitment to sustainability are helping to reduce our carbon footprint."
"This groundbreaking marks the launch of a transformative project and leads the first wave of commercial-scale advanced biorefineries in North America," said Enerkem's Chief Executive Officer, Vincent Chornet. "Enerkem looks forward to providing the citizens of Edmonton with a clean alternative to landfilling and Albertans with a clean transportation fuel."
The Biofuels Facility is part of a larger initiative totalling $131 million which also includes a feedstock preparation facility and an Advanced Energy Research Facility. The Government of Alberta supported this initiative through Alberta Innovates – Energy and Environment Solutions ($29 million) and Alberta Energy ($3.35 million). The City of Edmonton contributed $42 million to the total project.
For more information on this project, visit edmontonbiofuels.ca.
Visit the Edmonton Biofuels website shortly after the event for high-resolution photos.