Advanced biofuel producer signs up for €200 million waste plastic to methanol project

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A consortium of companies, including Canadian advanced biofuel producer Enerkem, have signed a project development agreement for an advanced waste-to-chemistry facility in Rotterdam.

According to a statement, the new facility will be the first of its kind in Europe. It will provide a sustainable alternative solution for non-recyclable waste, allowing plastics and other mixed wastes to be converted into raw materials.

The agreement covers €9 million of initial investments in the project, including detailed engineering, set-up of a dedicated joint venture, and the permitting process. The consortium is aiming to make a final investment decision for the €200 million project later in 2018.

“This is another exciting and important step getting us closer to launching the construction of our very first advanced biorefinery facility in Europe in 2018," says Vincent Chornet, President and Chief Executive Officer of Enerkem.

"As part of this innovative consortium, Enerkem will be the technology provider, lead contractor as well as an equity partner in the project."

As well as Enerkem, the consortium includes Air Liquide, AkzoNobel Speciality Chemicals and the Port of Rotterdam.

If completed, the facility would convert up to 360,000 tonnes of waste into 220,000 tonnes of green methanol. A press release from Enerkem claims that this represents the total annual waste of more than 700,000 households, representing CO2 emissions savings of about 300,000 tonnes.

The site for the new project is the Botlek area of the Port of Rotterdam. The facility will be built using Enerkem’s proprietary technology, which converts non-recyclable mixed wastes into syngas, and then methanol.

Dutch Rabobank has been appointed as the lead advisor for the financing process. The project is also supported by the City of Rotterdam, and the Dutch Ministry of Economic Affairs & Climate Policy.