Rosemount Mulls Plan to Convert Waste into Ethanol
by Matt M. Johnson (Finance & Commerce) Rosemount officials are looking with both caution and optimism at a Canadian company’s proposal to build a $200 million garbage-to-fuel refinery near the city’s northeast edge.
Montreal-based Enerkem is partnering with St. Paul-based garbage processor and recycler SKB Environmental on the plant, which would process garbage into ethanol fuel. It would be built next to an SKB landfill on Highway 55, near the road’s intersection with Highway 52 in Rosemount.
Enerkem’s technology converts solid waste, including lumber waste, that isn’t easily recyclable or compostable into ethanol fuel. It is already doing this at a $150 million plant it is completing in Edmonton, Alberta.
McConnell said in an interview the fuel for the operation is carbon-containing refuse, including wood construction waste. The plant would not pull materials from the municipal recycling or composting stream.
“We’re looking to recycle the carbon from what’s left over there,” he said Monday.
The plant would produce 100 gallons of ethanol for every ton of “feedstock” material processed there. That material would arrive daily on up to 93 garbage trucks from Dakota County and other nearby municipalities, McConnell said. The plant is being designed to process about 400,000 tons of waste per year.
Enerkem decided to locate in Rosemount after being approached by SKB. The plant would be built near other industrial uses such as the landfill and the Flint Hills Resources refinery.
The plant could benefit from a second waste stream, water treated at the nearby Empire Wastewater Treatment plant. McConnell said Enerkem and Met Council officials have discussed having the Canadian company use the treated water for plant processes, rather than have the facility draw from fresh water supplies. READ MORE and MORE (See News) and MORE (Biofuels International)