Can municipal waste really be made into useable fuels? The answer is yes. In 2019, Suncor invested over $50 million in Enerkem, a world leader in converting waste to biofuels and chemical products. 

Enerkem is working with the City of Edmonton to take their non-recyclable and non-compostable municipal solid waste and convert it into fuel. Enerkem’s technology includes a process that breaks down hydrocarbons in municipal waste to create a synthetic gas that recombines into biofuel ethanol. 

Suncor’s investments in Enerkem include both a financial investment as well as 12 Suncor employees who have  seconded to the company. 

“We have been able to apply Suncor’s operational and technical expertise in support of Enerkem operations in Edmonton, contributing to accelerate growth to a large and reliable scale production,” says Stephane Demers, Suncor’s seconded GM at Enerkem’s Edmonton facility. “Through the partnership, the team supported Enerkem’s turnaround in June this year.” 

Approximately 80 per cent of the carbon emissions produced during the well-to-wheel process occurs during combustion (ie: when you’re driving the car). 

“Combusting a biofuel significantly reduces carbon emissions, therefore, when the ethanol is blended with our petroleum products, the Canadian driver is burning cleaner fuels,” says Mario Ochoa, manager, renewables, Suncor. 

Increasing our cost- and carbon-competitiveness through investments in Enerkem complements our existing biofuels business. 

“Together with the other investments in clean technology, our relationship with Enerkem helps position Suncor to be a leader in the developing low-carbon economy,” says Mark Little, president and chief executive officer, Suncor.