First employees at Enerkem Alberta Biofuels begin training

By Susanne Retka Schill | January 22, 2013

The first employees of the 10 MMgy Enerkem Alberta Biofuels LP cellulosic ethanol plant under construction in Edmonton, Alberta, have begun technical training at Enerkem Inc.’s demonstration facility in Westbury, Ontario. Interviewing has begun for the next round of hiring, said Marie-Helene Labrie, vice president, government affairs and communications.

"With plant commissioning expected to begin this summer, it's exciting to see the facility's first employees join the Enerkem team and start their technical training", said Vincent Chornet, president and CEO of Enerkem. "We are impressed by the quality and caliber of the candidates we are attracting as part of our recruitment process."

As the company gears up for the transition from construction to startup, Enerkem also announced it has closed on $37 million in additional financing from Waste Management of Canada Corp. and EB Investments. Added to the previous investment of $15 million, the new round brings the total investments from Waste Management and EB Investments to $52 million.

Labrie said the facility’s gasifier is in place and the prefabricated process modules will be delivered in the next few weeks. Enerkem has a 25-year agreement with Edmonton to convert the city’s nonrecyclable, noncompostable, waste to cellulosic ethanol. “It will increase our independence on oil and reduce landfilling,” Labrie said. “We are very excited.”