Backgrounder: The governments of Canada and Quebec invest in renewable energy and organic residual waste management in Varennes


The governments of Canada and Quebec are investing in modern, green and resilient infrastructure to build vibrant and healthy communities while protecting the environment and supporting job creation.

The Government of Canada is investing $70 million through the Investing in Canada Infrastructure Program and over $4 million from Canada Economic Development in the Varennes Carbon Recycling project in Quebec. The Government of Quebec is contributing more than $160 million to the project. Additional investments of more than $379 million come from Varennes Cellulosic Ethanol L.P., which is supported financially by major strategic partners, including Shell Canada Products, Suncor Energy, Proman and Enerkem, the company that developed the innovative technology to be used in Varennes.

Cellulosic biofuel plant

The project consists of the construction of a biorefinery that will produce alternative fuels (methanol/ethanol) with low carbon intensity. These biofuels will be produced from wood residues such as wood chips and non-recyclable or non-compostable residual materials from sorting centres, construction and demolition companies, and the industrial, commercial, and institutional sector.

This is the first plant of its kind in Quebec. Enerkem also has a plant in operation since 2016 in Edmonton, Alberta.

Environmental benefits

This plant will transform more than 200,000 tonnes of waste into nearly 130 million litres per year of biofuels, which can then be sold as a substitute for petroleum-based fuels. The plant will also reduce the amount of waste and residual materials going to landfills and incinerators. These activities will contribute to substantially decreasing greenhouse gas emissions—a decrease equivalent to taking 50,000 cars off the road on an annual basis.

The Varennes Carbon Recycling project will therefore support Canada's transition to a low-carbon economy, in accordance with its commitments to the Pan-Canadian Framework on Clean Growth and Climate Change:


The Varennes plant will use patented technology owned by Enerkem. The thermochemical process rapidly converts carbon molecules found in waste into low-carbon biofuels.

More information on the process can be found on the Enerkem website:

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