Green tie-ups: Enerkem/Technip team up on waste-to-biofuels and circular chemicals; UPM acquires SunCoal Industries to pump up biorefinery business

M&As: SK Capital invests in PVOH film maker Ecopol; Next Generation invests in plastic waste treatment firm

Canada’s Enerkem Inc. and Technip Energies have signed a memorandum of understanding aimed at accelerating the deployment of Enerkem’s technology platform for biofuels and circular chemical products from non-recyclable waste materials.

Founded in 2000 and headquartered in Montreal, Enerkem specialises in the development and commercialisation of its gasification technology transforming non-recyclable waste into biofuels, low-carbon fuels and circular chemicals, catering to hard-to-abate sectors such as sustainable aviation and marine fuels. Since 2016, Enerkem has been operating a commercial demonstration scale facility in Alberta, Canada. Additionally, the company is currently involved in the development and construction of new commercial-scale waste-to-methanol facilities in Canada and Europe.

Technip Energies, having successfully executed bio and low-carbon fuels projects worldwide, will contribute its expertise in engineering, technology integration and project delivery to support projects developed by Enerkem. This partnership will enhance Enerkem’s project delivery capacity and speed. Furthermore, the collaboration will focus on strategic efforts to optimize design elements and industrialize the approach through the replication of Enerkem’s designs for future projects.

To expedite the deployment of its technology, Enerkem intends to establish a Development Company (DevCo). The purpose of DevCo is to acquire sites and secure relevant permits for the replicable methanol biorefinery design, supporting the production of bio and low-carbon fuels, as well as circular chemicals.

Enerkem employs close to 300 people in Canada, the US, Europe and the UK, and has various projects worldwide, including the world’s first commercial scale biorefinery producing advanced bio-methanol and circular methanol from non-recyclable waste in Alberta, Canada. In partnership with key strategic partners, a large-scale facility based on Enerkem’s waste-to-methanol platform is under construction in Quebec, Canada, and is scheduled to start operations in 2025. In Tarragona, Spain, Enerkem’s technology is at the heart of the Ecoplanta project which will produce biomethanol and circular methanol from non-recyclable waste.

M&As: SK Capital invests in PVOH film maker Ecopol; Next Generation invests in plastic waste treatment firm

In other news, sustainable materials firm UPM Biochemicals has acquired SunCoal Industries GmbH, a Germany-based company that developed a technology portfolio to produce performance products from renewable raw materials. With this acquisition SunCoal Industries’ technology will be integrated into the production of UPM’s BioMotion Renewable Functional Fillers (RFF), one of the products to be produced at UPM Biochemical’s first-of-its kind biorefinery in Leuna and strengthen the overall technology portfolio of UPM’s biorefining businesses.

The ownership of SunCoal Industries and its team specialising in lignin valorisation enables UPM to strengthen the role as a supplier of sustainable, renewable functional fillers to the rubber and plastic markets by further developing the technology inhouse. SunCoal Industries’ experts will bring additional capabilities to further develop the RFF production technology and processes and support UPM’s ambitious growth plans in the biorefining space.

Founded in 2007, SunCoal Industries is located in Ludwigsfelde, Brandenburg, with pilot and lab facilities and employs 30 people. The company invented a globally patented hydrothermal treatment technology and licenced it to UPM for the production of wood-based functional fillers. The technology is implemented on an industrial scale for the first time at the biorefinery in Leuna.

UPM invests EUR1.1 billion to build the world’s first industrial scale biorefinery in Leuna, Germany. In Leuna, UPM will convert sustainably sourced, certified hardwood into next generation biochemicals that will enable the vital shift away from fossil-based to renewable materials across a wide range of industries.

One of the products from the Leuna biorefinery will be the UPM BioMotionT Renewable Functional Fillers. The Leuna biorefinery is part of a broader growth area, UPM Biorefining, focused on scaling refineries producing a variety of renewable fuels and chemicals made from sustainable biomass.


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