Since 2006, Suncor has been making a significant impact in Canada's emerging biofuels industry. Suncor is using revenues from oil sands development to invest in biofuels, particularly ethanol produced from corn. Ethanol is a cleaner burning, renewable resource. The ethanol production industry is expanding in Canada and the United States. New government regulations require that a percentage of ethanol be blended into fuels to reduce the environmental impacts of vehicle emissions.
St. Clair Ethanol Plant
Suncor operates Canada's largest ethanol facility — the St. Clair Ethanol Plant in the Sarnia-Lambton region of Ontario. The plant opened in June 2006.
- The St. Clair Ethanol Plant has a current production capacity of 400 million litres per year.
- The ethanol produced here is blended into Petro-Canada gasoline.
- The plant currently uses 40 million bushels of corn annually, approximately 20% of Ontario's annual corn crop.
- The type of corn used as feedstock has traditionally been used to feed livestock. Once the starches are extracted from the corn to make ethanol, the remaining elements are used to make premium cattle feed.
- The Pembina Institute for Appropriate Development conducted a Life Cycle Value Assessment for the St. Clair Ethanol Plant. The study estimated that overall CO2 emissions could be reduced by up to 300,000 tons per year by blending 10% ethanol from the St. Clair plant into gasoline. With the recent expansion of the St. Clair Ethanol plant, that environmental benefit is expected to double to up to 600,000 tonnes of greenhouse gas reductions annually.
- Ethanol production puts local people to work. A recent expansion created approximately 250 construction jobs. The plant now supports 63 full-time office and operating staff.