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$876M biofuel plant to be built in Varennes as Quebec aims for greener future

A new plant to produce biofuels from non-recyclable residual materials will be installed in Varennes, a city 30 minutes from down town Montréal. Enerkem

A new plant to produce biofuels from non-recyclable residual materials will be installed in Varennes, a city 30 minutes from downtown Montreal.

The green energy recycling plant is the first of its kind in the province of Quebec and is apart of the Recycle Carbone Varennes project by company Enerkem.

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The project is valued at $876 million, including $687 million for the factory alone.

Quebec Premier François Legault, Minister of Economy and Innovation Pierre Fitzgibbon, and Minister of Energy and Natural Resources Jonatan Julien made the announcement on Tuesday, alongside federal ministers Catherine McKenna, Mélanie Joly and Pablo Rodriguez.

The project is receiving provincial and federal funding.

The Government of Quebec, through Investissement Quebec, is providing a loan of up to $80 million as well as an investment in preferred shares of up to $80 million for the project.

Minister Catherine McKenna, for her part, announced a federal investment of $74 million.

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The plant, once operational, would see the conversion of more than 200,000 tonnes of non-recyclable waste and wood waste into an annual production of nearly 125 million litres of biofuels.

Dominique Boies, CEO and CFO of Enerkem, says the factory will reduce greenhouse gas equivalent to taking close to 50,000 vehicles off the road annually.

The biofuels produced from the Varennes plant will be sold to company partners, Shell, Suncor and Proman to be used in other products.

In addition to the start-up of the biofuels plant, the project includes the installation by Hydro-Quebec of an 88 megawatt electrolyzer.

This new machinery is being touted as one of the world’s largest renewable hydrogen and oxygen production facilities leveraging Quebec’s green electricity.

Boies says the annual recurring economic benefits of the plant will be equal to $85 million for the province of Québec.

The project is expected to create more than 500 jobs during the construction of the plant and nearly 100 jobs during operation.

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Initial construction of the plant began over the summer.

The scheduled date of completion is set to be in the year 2023.

— With files from Global News’ Brayden Jagger Haines 

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