Construction begins on Alberta-based advanced energy research facility

By Erin Voegele
Posted Septemer 17, 2009, at 1:04 p.m. CST

Construction has begun on a $10 million advanced energy research facility at the Edmonton Waste Management Centre in Edmonton, Alberta. The facility, which is being jointly developed by the city of Edmonton and the government of Alberta, will be used to conduct research on the conversion of various types of waste into renewable fuels and chemicals. According to information released by the city of Edmonton, it is expected that research at the new facility will focus on the conversion of waste generated by various industries, including the oil, gas, agriculture and forestry industries, as well as the municipal sector.

The research facility is being constructed at a site adjacent to Enerkem Inc.'s future 10 MMgy waste-to-ethanol facility and the city of Edmonton's municipal waste processing facility, which is currently under construction. According to Connie Boyce, Edmonton's director of community relations for waste management, construction of the research center is expected to be complete within the first quarter of 2010.

Once complete, the facility will feature advanced laboratory equipment and a well-instrumented pilot plant that will utilize Enerkem's ethanol production technology. Enerkem co-founder Esteban Chornet is expected to lead some of Enerkem's advanced research at the facility. A steering group and technical committee jointly formed by representatives of the city of Edmonton and the Advanced Energy Research Institute, which has funded the research center, will guide and implement research and development activities at the facility. Boyce said the city of Edmonton is hoping the new facility will attract additional researchers in the future.

"This research center is an investment in our future," said Edmonton City Councillor Tony Caterina. "This type of collaboration between two orders of government and the private sector is essential for us to move forward with green technologies and the start of a long-term and productive working relationship."