The Canada Infrastructure Bank is helping to finance the development of what will be the country’s largest biorefinery and electrolyzer — a $1.2-billion carbon recycling facility in Quebec that will create biofuels.
The Crown Corporation Canada Infrastructure Bank (CIB) will provide a loan of $277 million for the 25-year project located in the Varennes suburb of Montreal, where the facility will utilize thermochemical technology from Montreal cleantech firm Enerkem to create green hydrogen and oxygen.
“CIB’s 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,” announced Enerkem CEO Dominique Boies in a statement.
The carbon recycling facility is expected to cut more than 170,000 tonnes of greenhouse gas emissions annually, according to the CIB, which is investing in low-carbon fuels for the first time.
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“The Canada Infrastructure Bank is pleased to have acted quickly on its expanded role to support transformational efforts to accelerate Canada’s transition to a low-carbon economy,” announced CIB CEO Ehren Cory in a statement. “Converting waste and residual biomass into clean hydrogen is the CIB’s latest effort helping the country reach net zero by 2050 and represents its first investment in low-carbon fuels,” Cory added.
The CIB expressed its intent to finance up to $5 billion into green infrastructure projects. It states that its latest loan for the biorefinery will attract some 44% investment from the private sector, “which may rise to 50% if a subsequent phase is pursued.”
The 90-megawatt Accelera electrolyzer by Cummins will supply 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 project is expected to create more than 500 jobs at the peak of construction, which has already begun, and about 100 permanent jobs once operational in 2025.
The biofuels facility is a joint-venture partnership between Shell, Suncor, Proman and the government of Quebec.
Mark Townley, Suncor’s senior VP of supply, trading and optimization, says the facility will divert non-recyclable waste from landfills and turn it into renewable methanol for use in marine transportation and the production of circular plastics.