Since 2006, Suncor has been a part of Canada’s renewable liquid fuels industry.
Ethanol from our St. Clair, Ont. plant gets blended into our Petro-Canada gasoline today and we’re researching even lower-carbon intensity ethanol for the future.
We’re advancing a portfolio of projects with universities and companies aimed at developing pathways to produce advanced renewable liquid fuels from waste, forestry and agricultural excess biomass, and refinery gases. These fuels have the potential to significantly reduce GHG emissions.
Ethanol: a cleaner burning, renewable resource
Ethanol production industry is expanding because of growing demand and government regulations that require fuels be blended with a percentage of ethanol to reduce the environmental impacts of vehicle emissions.
We operate Canada's largest ethanol facility — the St. Clair Ethanol Plant in the Sarnia-Lambton region of Ontario.
St. Clair Ethanol Plant
The plant opened in June 2006.
- Located in Mooretown, Ont., the facility is Canada’s largest ethanol plant and has a current production capacity of 400 million per year.
- The ethanol produced at St. Clair 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 and corn oil.
Other renewable fuels initiatives
Enerkem is a waste-to-renewable fuels and chemicals technology developer and producer. In addition to direct investments, Suncor employees have been seconded to Enerkem projects to provide operational support and increase operational discipline based on Suncor’s extensive experience. In 2020, Enerkem, Suncor and other partners announced construction plans for the Varennes Carbon Recycling facility in Quebec that is designed to convert non-recyclable residual materials, as well as wood waste, into renewable fuels and renewable chemicals.
LanzaTech’s carbon recycling platform uses novel gas fermentation technology to capture CO-rich gases and convert the carbon to fuels and chemicals. Since 2014, we have partnered with LanzaTech to support the development of their patented technology portfolio for potential use in our existing operations as well as next-generation biofuel plants.
LanzaJet will produce sustainable aviation fuel (SAF) from ethanol derived from a variety of sustainable sources, including wastes and residues. Suncor is a founding investor alongside Mitsui & Co., Ltd. and LanzaTech Inc., along with Shell and British Airways (International Airlines Group) who formalized their investments in 2021. These investments will help build LanzaJet’s first SAF-producing plant Freedom Pines Fuels in Soperton, Georgia, U.S. in 2022 and establish LanzaJet as a global leader in renewable fuels production.
Suncor is the largest producer and consumer of hydrogen in Canada. We view hydrogen as being a significant part of the future energy mix and recognize the opportunity for Alberta to be a global leader in the production of clean hydrogen.
ATCO/Suncor hydrogen project
In 2021, we announced a partnership with ATCO to collaborate on the early-stage design and engineering for a potential world-scale clean hydrogen project near Fort Saskatchewan, Alta.
If this project moves forward, it will produce more than 300,000 tonnes per year of clean hydrogen and reduce Alberta’s CO2 emissions by more than two Mt per year.
By using advanced technology to capture more than 90% of the emissions generated in the production of hydrogen, and then using the hydrogen in our refining processes and cogeneration, we can also reduce the carbon intensity of our refined products.
To further reduce Alberta’s emissions, approximately 20% of the clean hydrogen from the facility would be blended with natural gas. The project is also expected to generate substantial economic activity and jobs across the province and make a sizable contribution to Canada’s net-zero ambition.
With government support, policy and regulatory certainty, the facility could be up and running as early as 2028.
Alberta Zero Emissions Truck Electrification Collaboration
In June 2021, we announced a first-of-its-kind project, Alberta Zero Emissions Truck Electrification Collaboration (AZETEC), to design, manufacture and test long-range hydrogen fuel cell trucks to operate year-round between Calgary and Edmonton. This 18-month pilot is an important first step to develop affordable commercial hydrogen transport fuelling stations.