Enerkem announces first commercial-scale biofuels and biochemicals plant is entering start-up phase

    Major milestone achieved bringing Enerkem one step closer to becoming the
    first producer of biofuels and biochemicals to commercially use waste

    MONTREAL, Jan. 12 /CNW Telbec/ - Enerkem Inc., a leading advanced
biofuels and biochemicals technology company, announced today that its first
commercial-scale plant located in Westbury, Quebec, is entering the start-up
phase with the production of its clean conditioned synthesis gas.
    Construction on the plant began in October 2007 and the facility was
mechanically complete in December 2008. The conditioned synthesis gas
("syngas") island has been finalized and is in an advanced commissioning stage
in preparation for its upcoming start-up. The premium syngas island serves as
the chemical production platform, from which the methanol and ethanol
production modules will be added progressively over the next months. Once
these gas-to-liquid modules are bolted to the syngas island, Enerkem will
become the first producer of liquid fuels and green chemicals to commercially
use renewable, non-food, negative-cost feedstock.
    "The conditioned synthesis gas island is the core of our technology
platform as it is where we produce a clean tailored syngas that serves as a
chemical source for the production of advanced biofuels and biochemicals,"
said Mr. Vincent Chornet, President and Chief Executive Officer of Enerkem.
"We have followed a rigorous path to commercialization since the beginning of
our pilot plant back in 2003 and we intend to apply the same disciplined
approach at Westbury. The first step is our premium syngas which leads to our
goal of becoming a world leader in the production of second-generation
transportation fuels and green chemicals."
    The company's Westbury plant will be the world's first ethanol plant to
use negative-cost and unconventional materials - treated wood from used
electricity poles. It is operated by a team of 13 people and will, at term,
produce 5 million litres (1.3 million gallons) of second-generation ethanol
annually. The Enerkem thermo-chemical process uses one tonne of waste to
produce 360 litres (95 gallons) of ethanol: enough fuel for a car to travel
2,500 km (1,550 miles), the distance from Winnipeg to Montreal, or Los Angeles
to Houston.
    Enerkem's renewable fuels represent a new technology path towards
environmentally friendly energy, contributing to the reduction of greenhouse
gas emissions by using materials that would otherwise produce methane when
landfilled and by producing a renewable fuel for cars, buses and trucks.
Unlike first-generation biofuels, or agrofuels, which are produced from
sugar-rich crops such as corn and sugar cane, Enerkem's second-generation
biofuels are produced from biomass and waste materials.

    About Enerkem

    Enerkem (www.enerkem.com) is a leader in the development and production
of advanced biofuels and green chemicals. The company is headquartered in
Montreal, Quebec, and has engineering offices in Sherbrooke, Quebec. Enerkem's
gasification, sequential gas conditioning and catalysis technology converts
sorted municipal solid waste, as well as forest and agricultural residues into
second generation transportation fuels and green chemicals. The company has a
pilot plant in operation since 2003 in Sherbrooke, Quebec. Its first
commercial-scale ethanol plant based in Westbury, Quebec, is entering start-up
phase and the company will soon begin the construction of a third plant in
Edmonton, Alberta, that will transform sorted household waste into ethanol for
cars, buses and trucks. Enerkem is a private company financed by leading US
venture capital firms Rho Ventures and Braemar Energy Ventures, the Canadian
investment fund BDR Capital and the Company's management.

    A video of the plant is available via this link:

For further information:

For further information: Marie-Hélène Labrie, Vice-President, Government
Affairs and Communications, Enerkem Inc., (514) 875-0284, x231,

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