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Enerkem proposes construction of $200 million Minnesota biofuel facility

Montreal-based waste-to-biofuels and chemical producer Enerkem Inc. has partnered with St. Paul, Minnesota-based garbage processing and recycling company SKB Environmental on a proposal to build a US$200 million refinery in Rosemount, Minnesota, which would process garbage into ethanol fuel.
Enerkem submitted rezoning and land use plan amendment applications last week to the municipality of Rosemount to construct and operate a plant on a piece of land that is currently zoned for agricultural use next door to an SKB landfill.
SKB Environmental, which participated in a presentation on May 9 pitching the Enerkem facility to Rosemount City Council, is owned by Texas-based Waste Connections.
Construction is now complete on Enerkem’s $80 million waste processing plant in Edmonton, Alberta, which will transform no-value landfill garbage and other types of chemicals and materials into fuel, including ethanol.
Originally scheduled to launch in 2012, the Edmonton plant has been plagued by delays, including a lawsuit filed by 10 plaintiffs, made up of six suppliers and four subcontractors that worked for a bankrupt seventh supplier called Métal Énergie, eight of which are also suing the city of Edmonton, for a total of nearly $7.4 million.
Enerkem first presented its plan for building an ethanol plant to Rosemount in May after being approached by SKB, citing the fact that the Minnesota state government is looking for novel solutions for diversion of solid waste from its landfills.
The Rosemount plant would employ about 100 people, and is still only in the planning stages, with City Council currently studying a report concerning details such as traffic, traffic impact, noise, zoning and land use.
Timeline for approvals relating to the project from City Council could take several months, and construction would take 12 to 16 months.
Enerkem’s plant can process solid waste, including construction waste, with the Rosemount facility projected to produce 100 gallons of ethanol for every tonne of solid waste fed into it, with a capacity of up to 93 garbage trucks arriving daily from Dakota County and other nearby municipalities.
The Rosemount plant is being designed to process approximately 400,000 tonnes of waste per year, with Enerkem projecting a start date on construction in the third quarter of 2018.
Last September, Enerkem raised C$152.6 million to initiate production at the Enerkem Alberta Biofuels facility in Edmonton, which will support the city in reaching its goal of boosting its waste diversion rate from approximately 50% to 90%.
Enerkem also owns and operates a demonstration plant and a pilot facility in Quebec, and plans to develop additional biorefineries in North America and globally, based on its modular manufacturing approach.
In August, Enerkem obtained certification from the International Sustainability and Carbon Certification (ISCC) system for its full-scale Alberta Biofuels facility, making it the first ISCC certified plant in the world to convert municipal solid waste into biomethanol.
ISCC certification opens the door to exporting biofuels generated by the plant to European markets.
Enerkem was one of two companies to accompany the Canadian contingent to the COP21 conference in Paris last December.

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