Innovation Snapshot
Innovator:Enerkem
Location:Edmonton, Alberta

From Trash To Energy

Cities create a lot of trash. Even with recycling programs and other trash reduction strategies, most ends up rotting in landfills.

Enerkem creates new life for trash with a biofuels facility that turns it into value-added renewable biofuels.

The company’s Edmonton-based plant is the first commercial-scale trash-to-biofuel facility in the world. It takes waste that can’t be recycled or composted — things like plastics and styrofoam — and turns it into synthetic gas. From there, the gas can be refined into biofuels like methanol or ethanol, or used to create industrial chemicals.

“People see it as a waste, we see it as a carbon resource,”
– Michel Chornet, Executive Vice President of Engineering, Innovations and Operations

Since opening in 2018, Enerkem’s facility now consumes about 30 percent of Edmonton’s municipal waste.

Enerkem has partnered with Suncor to provide biofuels for their industrial vehicles, providing a greener alternative to traditional fuels; and with the company hoping to expand its biofuels production to other cities in Canada and worldwide, company representatives say the success of its Alberta-based plant will serve as a model for its future.