Edmonton, Canada just celebrated the opening of the world’s first waste-to-biofuel facility, which could radically transform the way we deal with our garbage. The Edmonton Waste-to-Biofuels and Chemicals Facility officially opened its doors last week and it’s expected to keep up to 90 percent of the city’s waste out of landfills. The main biofuel produced at the plant will be methanol, which can be used as a gasoline additive and to make products like windshield washer fluid.
Quebec-based Enerkem received $60 million in funding in 2011 to build the plant, which will take in a variety of municipal waste that can’t be recycled, like certain plastics and fibers, wood, shingles and more. The Edmonton Journal reports that 10 percent of the waste brought to the plant (such as metal, ceramics and glass) can’t be turned into biofuels, and will still end up in the landfill. Costs for waste disposal under the new system are very similar to the old one, with the city paying $75 per ton under the new system versus $70 per ton under the old one that saw 40 per cent of the city’s trash head to the landfill.
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This facility joins several others in the Edmonton Waste Management Centre, a “unique collection of advanced waste processing and research facilities,” that also includes composting, materials recovery, e-waste recycling, construction waste recovery, paper recycling and landfill gas recovery.
Edmonton Mayor Don Iveson feels the eyes of the world are on his city right now and says he’s proud of what’s happening around waste management there – especially considering the reputation Northern Alberta, home of the tar sands, has in relation to the environment . “It’s one of the things that when people question the commitment of Edmontonians and Albertans to the environment, we point to this as global leadership and we’re very, very proud of it, and we should be,” Iveson told the Edmonton Journal.
Via Edmonton Journal
Images viaEnerkem and City of Edmonton