Advanced Energy Research Facility – Facilitating the Development and Implementation of Innovative Waste to Bio-products Technologies

Duke du Plessis and Christian Felske.
1Alberta Innovates Energy and Environment Solutions (AI-EES).
2Waste Management Services, City of Edmonton.

AI-EES collaborates with feedstock suppliers and technology developers to accelerate the development and implementation of new technologies with the potential to reduce the cost and environmental footprint of energy operations in Alberta. One of its strategic focus areas is on converting biowastes into value-added products. The development of Enerkem’s commercial Waste-to-Biofuels Facility and its accompanying Advanced Energy Research Facility (AERF), in partnership with Waste Management Services of the City of Edmonton and the private sector, is one example of how AI-EES is advancing its mandate.

In 2011, AERF was established by AI-EES and the City of Edmonton as a plug-and-play piloting facility which could be used to scale up various technologies and waste feedstocks for the production of bio-based fuels and products – thereby accelerating commercial deployment while attracting innovative companies to Alberta. Its objective was to foster collaborative research initiatives among industry, universities, and national and international R&D organizations.

AERF includes a waste feedstock preparation system (shredding, air classification, and ferrous and non-ferrous metals separation), a highly-instrumented 300 kg/hr. pilot facility with fluid bed gasifier, synthesis gas conditioning, cleaning and methanol synthesis system. It also has a continuous flow gas-to-liquids bench-scale unit and an advanced catalytic research laboratory. It enables researchers and technology developers to scale up their novel technologies and to test various Alberta-based waste feedstocks (municipal, agriculture and forestry biomass, plastics, and various industrial wastes) for their conversion to clean biofuels and value-added products. The 4,000 square foot bay is available for lease and currently there are 8 active projects being carried by different companies, universities and R&D organizations. This presentation describes the unique features of the AERF and the projects being carried out within this facility.