WESTBURY, QUEBEC - Enerkem Inc. a waste-to-biofuels and chemicals company, says it has begun production of cellulosic ethanol from used wood telephone poles at its demonstration facility in Westbury, Québec. Enerkem CEO Vincent Chornet called it "a significant milestone."
"This new achievement in Westbury allows us to confirm the process design of our proprietary methanol-to-ethanol technology for its deployment at Enerkem's full-scale commercial plants in Edmonton and other locations. "
The newly installed equipment converts methanol into cellulosic ethanol from larger methanol equipment already in operation at Westbury, and developed over 11 years. The primary purpose of the Westbury facility is to test various waste feedstocks coming from customers and partners.
The plant is located in a rural area, near a sawmill that recycles used wooden telephone and power line poles. Enerkem employs the non-usable portion of these poles. The demonstration plant is the world's first ethanol and biochemicals plant to use treated wood from used electricity poles as a feedstock.
Development of wood-based biofuel production has raised industry oncern that feedstocks for particleboard and fiberboard would go up in price. A study last year of Enerkem and other biofuel firms said the impact on wood fiber prices would be minimal.