Detailed engineering of the world’s first commercial biorefinery

Enerkem Alberta Biofuels set an ambitious goal for itself to establish the world’s first commercial biorefinery to produce biomethanol from landfill waste, such as textiles, plastics, wood residue and packaging waste.

Client: Enerkem Alberta Biofuels
Location: Edmonton, Alberta

OUR EXPERTS’ SOLUTIONS

BBA’s mandate was to provide modular detailed engineering services for the methanol purification and ethanol production units. Solid and innovative engineering were used to enable Enerkem to move quickly from research and development to commercial-scale application, all within budget.

Enerkem wanted the plant to be designed in modules, to use the least amount of surface area possible and to include enough space between equipment to provide safe access to operators in the course of normal operations and emergencies. With these parameters, BBA used its cutting-edge design and 3D modelling expertise to solve the engineering challenges.

Going beyond its engineering mandate, BBA proposed a construction strategy and changes to the project schedule to improve project value: the main idea was to design and build modules to align with the construction plan, instead of following the standard development sequence.

As this plant is a world’s first, mechanical equipment, piping, valves and instruments had to be selected from scratch. As a result, the project required an understanding of important technical challenges: fluid velocity, product composition, pressure, temperature, expected plant life, reliability and space limitations.

 

  • Worked with the client as an integrated team

  • Modelled 3D design and modular approach

  • Innovative, vertical layout to reduce surface area

  • Significant reduction in construction costs through modularization

IN THE WORDS OF THE ACEC…

“BBA won the Award of Excellence and the Tree for Life Award for outstanding environment stewardship or commitment to environmental protection for its ground-breaking project, Enerkem Alberta Biofuels.”

IN NUMBERS

  • Potential annual processing capacity of 100,000 dry tons of generated DSM

  • Emissions reduction equivalent to nearly 110,000 tonnes of CO2 per year

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