The Canada Infrastructure Bank (CIB) announced it has concluded the financing on its first project from its low-carbon fuels, carbon capture utilization storage and hydrogen initiative with support for a biorefinery and the country’s largest electrolyzer.

Under the terms of the agreement, the CIB will provide a loan of $277 million to a joint-venture partnership between Shell, Suncor, Proman and the government of Québec that will enable construction of Canada’s largest biorefinery, based on a technology platform developed by Enerkem.

“The Canada Infrastructure Bank is pleased to have acted quickly on its expanded role to support transformational efforts to accelerate Canada’s transition to a low-carbon economy. Converting waste and residual biomass into clean hydrogen is the CIB’s latest effort helping the country reach net zero by 2050 and represents its first investment in low-carbon fuels,” said Ehren Cory, CEO, Canada Infrastructure Bank.

The $1.2 billion facility – known as Varennes Carbon Recycling – will include an electrolyzer which will supply clean hydrogen and oxygen to convert more than 200,000 tonnes of non-recyclable waste and residual biomass into biofuels with a capacity of up to 130 million litres annually.

“The largest biorefinery in Canada will open its doors in Varennes, with the help of a loan from the Canada Infrastructure Bank. By supporting innovation here at home, the Canada Infrastructure Bank is giving Canada more tools to continue the fight against climate change, creating good jobs and generating wealth, here in Quebec,” said Pablo Rodriguez, Minister of Canadian Heritage and Quebec Lieutenant.

The project will be using Enerkem’s proprietary thermochemical process. The carbon recycling facility is expected to cut more than 170,000 tonnes of greenhouse gas emissions annually and 4.25 million tonnes over the project’s 25-year lifespan. The annual reduction is equivalent to taking 50,000 passenger vehicles off the road.

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“We are pleased with the support of the CIB to Varennes Carbon Recycling that now combines the electrolyzer with the biorefinery into one single project. CIB’s participation enables this first-of-a-kind, fully commercial project, based on Enerkem’s waste to methanol technology platform. This sends a powerful signal to investors and the biofuels and circular chemicals sectors,” said Dominique Boies, CEO, Enerkem.

Featured image: Artist’s rendering of the Varennes Carbon Recycling facility. (CNW Group/Canada Infrastructure Bank)

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