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Shell leads on renewables plant

Shell is to take a 40% stake in a C$875 million plant being developed at Varennes, Québec, by Canadian clean tech company Enerkem. This will produce 125 million litres/year of low-carbon fuels and renewable, methanol-based chemicals from 200,000 tonnes/year of non-recyclable waste and wood waste, using a proprietary thermochemical technology.

The Varennes Carbon Recycling (VCR) project was announced in December 2020. Subject to the finalisation of commercial agreements, the first phase is due to be commissioned in 2023. The facility will involve the construction of the world’s largest renewable hydrogen and oxygen production facilities with an 87-megawatt electrolyser. Other investors include Enerkem itself, sustainable energy firm Suncor, methanol producer Proman, green hydrogen and oxygen Hydro-Québec, and the Québec and Canadian governments.

Enerkem had previously demonstrated the technology at a pilot plant at Westbury, Québec, and its first commercial demonstration plant in Edmonton, Alberta. Shell, described this investment as part of its aim of becoming a net-zero emissions energy business by no later than 2050, was also involved in ramping up the capacities of these sites.

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