Canada Infrastructure Bank funds Quebec biorefinery

The Canada Infrastructure Bank (CIB) is providing a loan of $277 million to help finance the construction of a biorefinery and electrolyzer in Quebec.

Under the terms of the agreement, the CIB will help fund a joint-venture partnership between Shell, Suncor, Proman and the government of Québec that will enable construction of Canada’s largest biorefinery, based on a technology platform developed by Enerkem.

The $1.2 billion facility – known as Varennes Carbon Recycling – will include an electrolyzer which will supply clean hydrogen and oxygen to convert more than 200,000 tonnes of non-recyclable waste and residual biomass into biofuels with a capacity of up to 130 million litres annually. The renewable methanol produced will be used primarily for marine transportation.

The project is expected to create more than 500 jobs at the peak of construction and about 100 permanent jobs once operational. Construction has already started and the facility is expected to be operating by 2025.

The project will be using Enerkem’s proprietary thermochemical process. The carbon recycling facility is expected to cut more than 170,000 tonnes of greenhouse gas emissions annually and 4.25 million tonnes over the project’s 25-year lifespan. The annual reduction is equivalent to taking 50,000 passenger vehicles off the road.

“We are pleased with the support of the CIB to Varennes Carbon Recycling that now combines the electrolyzer with the biorefinery into one single project,” said Dominique Boies, CEO of Enerkem.

“CIBs participation enables this first-of-a-kind, fully commercial project, based on Enerkem’s waste to methanol technology platform. This sends a powerful signal to investors and the biofuels and circular chemicals sectors.”