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Oil and petrochemical giant Valero and existing investors have just dropped $60 million on Enerkem, a company that specializes in converting unusable waste into ethanol and other chemicals.
The company says it can convert household garbage, leftover debris from demolition and utility poles into ethanol, acetates and other chemicals that appear in household objects. Valero’s investment in Enerkem appears to be a strategic investment, meaning the oil giant might either use Enerkem’s technology to produce ethanol or purchase petrochemicals from the company as part of an agreement with Enerkem.
Enerkem has also secured a $130 million loan guarantee from the U.S. Department of Agriculture and U.S. Department of Energy for a plant in Pontotoc, Miss., that will generate around 10 million gallons of ethanol and other biofuels annually. The company is also constructing a plant in Edmonton, Canada, that will generate 10 million gallons of ethanol and other biofuels annually. It currently only operates one active plant that generates 1.3 million gallons of biofuels yearly in Quebec, Canada.
Valero produces around 1.1 billion gallons of ethanol across 10 ethanol-producing plants and has invested in a 50-megawatt wind farm, according to the company. Existing investors Rho Ventures, Braemar Energy Ventures and Cycle Capital also participated in the most recent funding round. The Montreal, Canada-based company raised $51.5 million in a previous funding round led by Waste Management, which also participated in the most recent funding round. The company has raised a total of around $136 million.