A new Edmonton biofuel plant is in its final stages of construction. By this time next year, the goal is to take the garbage so many residents place at the curb and convert it into the gasoline needed to drive cars. The company behind this innovative idea is Enerkem, and the goal is to take municipal solid waste and turn it into methanol, then ethanol to do more for the production of energy in the area.
While this sounds like an amazing idea, it has deep roots. Unfortunately, it also has quite a history with the city as it was initially supposed to be fully operational in 2012. At the moment, it is wholly overdue, and the budget for the project is going up fast. Given the sheer scale of this project, though, it’s not at all surprising that some complications arose during construction. Enerkem is already producing methanol, but converting it to ethanol has become quite a challenge. The biggest problem is that many of the garbage items are difficult to break down and turn into energy.
If the project works, though, Edmonton will be able to divert more than half of its waste and turn it into very real fuel to get to work, the store, or even school each morning, and that’s a leap forward nearly every city in the world would love to make.