Melanie Joly, Minister of Economic Development and Official Languages, listens to Quebec Premier Francois Legault during a news conference announcing an investment in a biofuels plant, in Montreal, Tuesday, Dec. 8, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Paul Chiasson

Governments to invest in $875-million biofuel plant project southeast of Montreal

Governments to invest in $875-million biofuel plant project southeast of Montreal

MONTREAL — Quebec and federal officials announced an investment Tuesday in a biofuel production facility that will use non-recyclable residual materials, diverting those items from landfills while reducing greenhouse gases in the province.

The Varennes Carbon Recyling project using technology developed by Enerkem is valued at $875 million, including $687 million to construct the plant in Varennes, Que., southeast of Montreal.

Premier Francois Legault joined several cabinet colleagues and federal Liberal government ministers as part of the announcement in Montreal.

Enerkem said the plant will produce 125,000 litres of biofuel and renewable chemicals made from nearly 200,000 tonnes of non-recyclable residual materials and wood waste.

“Basically, we’re taking non-recyclable feedstock or things that you wouldn’t put in your recycling bin that (end up) in the landfill,” said Dominque Boies, CEO of Enerkem.

“The idea is to use this material, which would create methane emissions … and convert them into biofuels you can put in your car and obtain a carbon reduction.”

The company said the greenhouse gas reduction achieved by the plant will be equivalent to taking close to 50,000 cars off the roads and will help the Quebec government reach its new goal of reducing emissions by 37.5 per cent over 1990 levels by 2030.

In addition to the biofuels plant, the project includes the installation of an 88-megawatt electrolyzer for the production of green hydrogen and oxygen for the new plant, with Hydro-Quebec investing more than $190 million into the project.

Quebec will provide $160 million for the project with Ottawa kicking in $74 million.

Infrastructure Minister Catherine McKenna, among a trio of federal ministers who took part in Tuesday’s announcement, recounted seeing the technology up close at Enerkem’s facility in Edmonton.

“I’ve had a chance … to see the made-in-Quebec technology of Enerkem, turning waste into energy, getting rid of waste going to landfills, helping tackle the plastic pollution crisis,” McKenna said.

“But also creating good jobs, because we need good jobs more than ever, we’re in a health crisis, but we’re also very much in an economic crisis.”

The project also includes strategic private partners Shell, Suncor and Proman, which would use the biofuel into their products.

Pierre Fitzgibbon, the province’s economy minister, said Quebec’s investment will include an $80 million loan through Investissement Quebec and $80 million in shares.

Fitzgibbon said investing in the Montreal-based company involved a certain level of risk in an emerging green technology. “As a government, we must be there to encourage green innovation even when it is risky,” Fitzgibbon said.

The project is expected to create more than 500 jobs during construction and close to 100 direct jobs when in operation.

Legault said the province currently only has one biofuel facility, which means the province has to import it.

“But that will change with the project we’re announcing today,” Legault said. “We’re also together helping a good Quebec company and ensuring green technology innovation from Quebec will stay here.”

Work to prepare the site began in the summer of 2019 with the facility scheduled to open in 2023.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Dec. 8, 2020.

The Canadian Press

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and US Vice-President Joe Biden walk down the Hall of Honour on Parliament Hill in Ottawa on Friday, December 9, 2016. If Joe Biden’s decision to kill off Keystone XL is supposed to sound the death knell for Canada-U.S. relations, you wouldn’t know it from the newly minted president’s call sheet. THE CANADIAN PRESS/ Patrick Doyle
In wake of decision to kill Keystone XL, Biden’s first foreign-leader call? Trudeau

Biden rescinded former president Donald Trump’s approval of the US$8-billion cross-border pipeline expansion

Protesting farmers and their families gather around a bonfire to mark the harvest festival, which is called Lohri, on a blocked highway in protest against new farm laws on the outskirts of New Delhi, India, Wednesday, Jan. 13, 2021. Changes in India’s farm laws could potentially open up one of the world’s most populous markets and are being closely watched by Canada’s agricultural and economic sectors, say experts. THE CANADIAN PRESS/AP-Altaf Qadri
Changes in Indian farm laws could benefit Canada, experts say

Independent committee of experts to negotiate with opponents of legislation

A sign on a shop window indicates the store is closed in Ottawa, Monday March 23, 2020. The Canadian Federation of Independent Business is raising its estimate for the number of businesses that are considering the possibility of closing permanently. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
CFIB raises estimate of small businesses at risk of closing permanently

One in six Canadian small business owners seriously contemplating shutting down

Alberta Premier Rachel Notley shakes hands with Joel Ward, former Red Deer College President and CEO, as Notley announces that the college is now on the path to grant degrees. (File photo by Advocate staff)
Future of Red Deer University increasingly uncertain

MLA’s college update says RDC more like SAIT and NAIT than a university

Kamala Harris is sworn in as vice president by Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor as her husband Doug Emhoff holds the Bible during the 59th Presidential Inauguration at the U.S. Capitol in Washington, Wednesday, Jan. 20, 2021. (AP Photo/Patrick Semansky, Pool)
Inauguration fashion: Purple, pearls, American designers

Joe Biden wore navy blue suit and overcoat by Ralph Lauren

Adam Hadwin, of Canada, chips to the second green during the first round of the Masters golf tournament in Augusta, Ga., Thursday, Nov. 12, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/AP-Matt Slocum
Adam Hadwin hopes to hit reset button in 2021 starting with American Express

Adam Hadwin hopes to hit reset button in 2021 starting with American Express

Japan's Yuto Totsuka competes during the men's World Cup freestyle halfpipe snowboard event in Calgary, Alta., Friday, Feb. 15, 2019.THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jeff McIntosh
Calgary runs out of runway to host world freestyle, snowboard championships

Calgary runs out of runway to host world freestyle, snowboard championships

Toronto FC midfielder Jonathan Osorio (21) celebrates his goal during extra time MLS playoff soccer action against the D.C. United, in Toronto on Saturday, Oct. 19, 2019. Osorio says a lot has changed with the Canadian national team since he first came to camp in 2013. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Frank Gunn
Jonathan Osorio upbeat about what lies ahead for Canadian men’s soccer team

Jonathan Osorio upbeat about what lies ahead for Canadian men’s soccer team

Calgary Flames' Johnny Gaudreau, centre, celebrates his goal with teammates during second period NHL hockey action against the Vancouver Canucks in Calgary, Monday, Jan. 18, 2021. Just three games into a condensed season, the Calgary Flames are already on a break. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jeff McIntosh
After a strong start, Calgary Flames get early breather in short NHL season

After a strong start, Calgary Flames get early breather in short NHL season

Edmonton Oilers centre Leon Draisaitl (29) hits Toronto Maple Leafs left wing Zach Hyman (11) during first period NHL hockey action in Toronto on Wednesday, January 20, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette
Oilers’ Draisaitl scores winner as showdown with Maple Leafs fails to live up to hype

Oilers’ Draisaitl scores winner as showdown with Maple Leafs fails to live up to hype

Conservative MP Derek Sloan arrives to a meeting in Ottawa on September 22, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick
MP Derek Sloan ejected from Conservative caucus for “destructive behaviour”: O’Toole

MP Derek Sloan ejected from Conservative caucus for “destructive behaviour”: O’Toole

Former truck driver Jaskirat Singh Sidhu walks into the Kerry Vickar Centre for his sentencing in Melfort, Sask., on Friday, March 22, 2019. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Kayle Neis
‘End of the road:’ Truck driver in Humboldt Broncos crash awaits deportation decision

‘End of the road:’ Truck driver in Humboldt Broncos crash awaits deportation decision

Most Read