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Comment Sustainability

Shell takes 40% stake in Montreal waste-to-chemicals plant

By Mary Page Bailey |

Shell will take a 40% interest in a waste-to-fuels plant using technology developed by Enerkem, a leading Canadian clean tech company. Enerkem announced the project in December 2020, subject to finalization of commercial agreements.


The approximately C$875 million commercial-scale facility will be constructed in Varennes, Québec, and will produce low-carbon fuels and renewable chemicals products from non-recyclable waste using Enerkem’s proprietary technology. Commissioning of the first phase of the facility is scheduled for 2023. Critical investment in the plant comes from Shell, Enerkem, Suncor, Proman and Hydro-Québec, as well as from the Québec and Canadian governments.


“Building a commercial-scale low-carbon fuels plant is one of the ways Shell is advancing cleaner fuels and evolving to meet the changing expectations of our customers,” said Michael Crothers, Shell Canada President and Country Chair. “Canada is well suited to capitalize on the energy transition thanks to the ingenuity of Canadians and our willingness to work together. We’re grateful for the collaboration between industry and government that has been instrumental in making this project a reality.”


Once completed, the plant will treat more than 200,000 tons of non-recyclable waste and wood waste per year with an annual production of nearly 125 million liters of low carbon fuels.


“The Varennes Carbon Recycling plant demonstrates our commitment and ability to use wastes as a feedstock to provide our customers with low carbon, high quality and affordable products,” added Crothers.


Shell has been a significant producer of ethanol as a low carbon fuel for the last ten years through Raízen, our joint venture in Brazil. Bioethanol is an effective way to reduce road transport emissions today, without the need to invest in new vehicles or infrastructure and already play a significant role in helping to decarbonise road transport in the Americas and in Europe.


Shell’s ambition to become a net-zero emissions energy business by 2050 or sooner, in step with society, includes reducing the carbon intensity of the company’s energy products. Shell’s low-carbon fuels production strategy is anchored around its access to competitive feedstock, commercialization of advanced technology and the building of internal capability.


In addition to diverting waste from landfill sites, the Varennes Carbon Recycling plant will expand the overall supply of alternative fuels and increase low-carbon fuels production in Quebec, accelerate greenhouse gas reduction in the transportation sector and increase Quebec’s leadership in renewable energy and innovation.

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