Date: February 24, 2010
Source: News Room
Montreal-based Enerkem Inc. said it raised $51.5 million from a syndicate of investors that includes waste industry giant Waste Management, Inc. to pursue ethanol-from-waste projects. The company produces ethanol from old telephone poles at its commercial-scale plant in Westbury, Quebec and is expecting to break ground on an $80-million Edmonton plant this summer. Late last year, the company won a $50-million clean-tech grant by the U.S. Department of Energy for a planned $90-million facility to produce ethanol from municipal waste in Pontotoc, Mississippi.
Enerkem has developed a gasification process that transforms post-recycled municipal solid waste into a synthesis gas that is then cleaned and refined into ethanol, methanol and acetate. Both the Edmonton and Pontotoc plants are expected to process 100,000 tons of waste into 10 million gallons of ethanol annually under long-term agreements with the host communities.
Neither Enerkem nor Waste Management disclosed details of the investment which was assembled by Morgan Stanley and includes other investors Rho Ventures, Braemar Energy Ventures, BDR Capital and Cycle Capital.
Waste Management with its large network of landfills throughout North America has been actively looking to expand into more green energy, particularly biofuel technologies. Tim Cesarek, Waste Management's managing director for organic growth, said the deal complements the firm's recycling and waste-to-energy activities. The company wants to double its renewable energy production by 2020.
Waste Management said Enerkem's technology will allow it to extract more value from the waste it now collects and processes. The company also produces energy from landfill gases. For example, the company has a joint venture with Linde North America, part of The Linde Group, a global gases and engineering company, and has begun producing renewable vehicle fuel at its facility located at the Altamont Landfill near Livermore, California.