Tech & Science

Canada Infrastructure Bank invests $277M in Quebec biofuels facility

The Infrastructure Bank of Canada is making its first investment in low-carbon fuels, investing $277 million in a biofuels facility under construction in Varennes, Coué.

Known as Varennes Carbon Recycling, the $1.2 billion facility is a joint venture project between Shell, Suncor Energy Inc., Swiss natural gas company Proman and the Government of Quebec.

Built by Montreal-based Enerkem. Enerkem’s proprietary technology is used to produce biofuels and renewable chemicals from landfill and wood waste. The plant will also incorporate one of the world’s largest electrolysers that split water molecules into oxygen and green hydrogen for use in the biofuel production process.

The project, which was first announced in 2020, will be the nation’s largest biofuel facility when completed in 2025, said Ehren Cory, CEO of Canada Infrastructure Bank.

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“What first attracted us to this project was its size and ambition,” Corey said.

“For us at CIB, this is the first investment in an area that I believe has great potential for our country.”

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Interest in biofuels (fuels derived from agricultural waste, food waste, and even renewable biomass such as algae) has exploded recently as companies seek to reduce their greenhouse gas emissions. I’m here.

Other projects underway in the country include Imperial Oil’s plans to build a renewable diesel complex at its Strathcona refinery near Edmonton and Atco Energy’s plans to operate a renewable natural gas facility near Begreville, Alta. It is included.

But concerns have also been raised that Canada is lagging behind as other countries, particularly Europe and the United States, seek to boost growth in the clean fuel sector.

Calgary-based Parkland Fuel Corp. recently announced that it will not proceed with plans to build a stand-alone renewable diesel complex at its Burnaby, British Columbia refinery. Construction of renewable fuels.

Enerkem CEO Dominique Boies said the risk of clean fuel investments flowing out of Canada and into other jurisdictions is real.

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“[U.S.]Inflation Reduction Act is very ambitious.

“We are afraid we will fall behind and it will be very difficult to do a project in Canada. can.”

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Inside BC’s only biofuel facility

In last year’s Federal Budget, the Infrastructure Bank of Canada (a Commonwealth Crown Corporation) was authorized to include clean fuel production, carbon capture utilization and storage, and hydrogen production under existing clean power and green infrastructure investment areas. was given.

“I don’t think the private sector is lagging or reticent. In fact, there is a lot of interest from private sector players, big and small, all over the country,” Cory said. increase.

“The challenge we face, which I believe is why the Canadian Infrastructure Bank plays such an important role, is the level of risk and uncertainty these projects still carry.”

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Mr. Corey considers market risks and imbalances on what types of premium customers will pay for low-carbon fuels and how carbon pricing systems and carbon credits in various jurisdictions will affect that market. I said it was certain.

“We all know what 2050 will look like, but there are a lot of uncertainties in getting there,” Corey said. “That’s where we can help.”

He said CIB is looking to fund up to $5 billion for green infrastructure projects. This should accelerate the deployment of these technologies by helping private sector proponents mitigate risks.

The Varennes carbon recycling facility, with a capacity of up to 130 million liters, is expected to convert more than 200,000 tons of non-recyclable waste into biofuels per year.

Proponents of the project say the facility will reduce greenhouse gas emissions by more than 170,000 tons annually.

© 2023 The Canadian Press

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