Enerkem announces partnerships with 3 Chinese companies

By Erin Voegele | October 28, 2014

Enerkem Inc. made three separate announcements regarding development plans in China in late October. On Oct. 27, the company announced the signing of a memorandum of understanding (MOU) with Shanghai Environmental Group Co. Ltd., a municipal solid waste (MSW) company and subsidiary of Shanghai Chengtou Holding Co. Ltd., to develop a project partnership to jointly develop a MSW-to-biofuels and chemicals facility in China. The same day, Enerkem also announced the signing of an agreement with Shanghai Marine Diesel Engine Research Institute to develop a partnership to jointly build a waste-to-biofuels facility in China. The following day, on Oct. 28, Enerkem announced an agreement with Qingdao City Construction Investment Group Ltd. to develop a project partnership to jointly build a MSW-to-biofuels city in Qingdao.

With regard to each partnership, Enerkem said it will license its exclusive technology to convert local urban waste from China into biofuels and biochemicals. The final business structure and sites are under discussion and will be announced at a later time, said the company in a statement.

Tim Cesarek, senior vice president of business development at Enerkem, explained that the three agreements were signed with three distinct Chinese companies. ”In each case, our agreements with these industrial partners are for the construction of facilities which will use Enerkem’s technology to produce biofuels from waste. The final business structures and sites are under discussions,” he said.

According to Cesarek, mounting waste volumes are a challenge everywhere, but are an even more pressing issue in China. “This also translates into a large market potential for Enerkem.  There is a clear need in China for a flexible technology such as ours, which can use various types of waste and transform them in clean transportation fuels or renewable chemicals,” he continued. “The demand for these products is also rapidly growing and the fact that we are a low-cost producer provides us with a competitive advantage.  These projected plants that will use Enerkem’s technology will contribute to help China address waste challenges and partly replace petroleum with clean transportation fuels.”

Cesarek indicated that at this point, most of Enerkem’s partners appear to be interested in ethanol production. However, he added that there is always the option of producing other types of biofuels or renewable chemicals.

Cesarek also specified that Enerkem’s expansion plans are not exclusive to the Chinese market. “We have several projects under development in North America and in other parts of the world,” he said. “Our commercial expansion will be global and we are committed to building facilities both in the U.S. and Canada.  Our value proposition makes sound business sense for industrial groups and this project partnership in China is a prime example of the strong export potential of Enerkem’s technology.”