Today is the start of the Recycling Council of Alberta’s annual conference. This year’s installation is called Recycling Means Business and has a gangster theme. Their web site (http://www.recycle.ab.ca/main) includes pictures bullets and the sound of gun shots. I will assume that this is a tongue in cheek turn to the perceived historic foundation of the waste management industry.
Today the conference included a number of tours.
I took one to the Edmonton Waste Management Centre (http://www.edmonton.ca/for_residents/garbage_recycling/edmonton-waste-management-centre.aspx). This place is a testament to what can happen when landfill capacity is dwindling and then ends The Centre is essentially a campus of waste diversion initiatives and has been adding new pieces for the last ten years. It includes a composting facility, MRF, E-Waste recycling facility and Eco Station.
The Centre’s current and most interesting initiative is its collaboration with Enerkem Alberta (http://18.104.22.168/en/home.html) to build a biofuels facility. The 80 million dollar facility will process 100,000 tonnes/year of MSW and produce about 36 million litres of biofuels annually. The facility will process wastes that now go to landfill. This includes a lot of now difficult to effectively recycle plastics. The City of Edmonton estimates that it will cost to same to send waste to this biofuels facility as it would to transfer it and tip at a third party landfill. The City does start to receive any revenues from the biofuels until the capital costs are paid. This is estimated to happen 15-20 years.
The biofuels facility is expected to be operational in 2012. It will help push the City’s waste diversion, which is now about 60% to about 90%.
This will be Enerkem’s first large scale facility.
The Advanced Energy Research Facility in Edmonton is a collaborative effort between the City of Edmonton, the government of Alberta, via Alberta Innovates – Energy and Environment Solutions, and Enerkem. It is being developed by the City of Edmonton, and is using Enerkem’s proprietary technology. It focuses on the conversion of various waste into biochemicals and advanced biofuels . The research facility includes laboratory equipment and a well-instrumented pilot plant, attracting top researchers from the country. Enerkem will conduct some of its advanced research at the facility, led by Dr. Esteban Chornet, Enerkem’s Chief Technology Officer. The facility held an official opening ceremony on June 23, 2011. The facility is an important component in furthering Enerkem’s dedication to innovation and the development of additional biochemicals, such as polymers and higer alcohols.