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From Waste-to-Chemicals to Waste-to-Jet

Partners repurpose the Rotterdam waste-to-chemicals project to waste-to-jet based on substantial targets and demand for Sustainable Aviation Fuel,
expected support for Recycled Carbon Fuels and a full scope,
‘in-house’ technical solution to be provided by Enerkem and Shell.

Rotterdam, June 8, 2021 – As travel picks up in the wake of the pandemic, the hard-to-decarbonise aviation sector will return to producing its share of about 3% of total global GHG emissions[1]. The production of Sustainable Aviation Fuel (SAF) is fundamental to reducing the aviation industry’s lifecycle carbon emissions by up to 80% compared to conventional fuel – allowing the world to fly, while emitting far less.

As new policy measures and ambitious CO2-targets are being introduced, demand for SAF is expected to increase substantially in the Netherlands and other EU Member States. New production pathways are therefore crucial to increase the supply of SAF; there are multiple technologies at various stages of maturity, and it is critical to develop as many as possible as quickly as possible to meet growing demand.

With favourable support under Renewable Transport fuels regulations expected, the production of SAF from low-grade, post-recycling mixed waste has become an option.

In light of the above – and given the capacity for Enerkem, together with Shell, to provide an end-to-end technical solution for converting hard-to-recycle waste into jet fuel by combining Enerkem’s waste gasification technology and Shell’s Fischer-Tropsch technology – the partners in the project have decided to repurpose the current project to focus on SAF production. The project would process up to 360,000 tonnes per annum of recycling rejects and produce up to 80,000 tonnes of renewable products, of which around 75% could be SAF and the remainder used for road fuels or to feed circular chemicals production.

The combination of Enerkem’s technology with Shell’s Fischer-Tropsch technology is an exciting and promising pathway. Enerkem’s platform creates ultra-clean syngas from waste. Shell’s Fischer-Tropsch technology can upgrade this syngas to sustainable aviation fuel. The Port of Rotterdam will also continue to be a partner as the realization of this kind of large scale circular facilities is an essential part of the Port Authority’s strategy. Air Liquide expressed to the Waste-to-Jet participants it is willing to participate in the project as a supplier of industrial gases.

Development of the revised project is underway and the partners – Enerkem, Shell and the Port of Rotterdam – are looking to submit a permit application for the revised project by the end of 2021.

If the final investment decision has been taken, construction of the project could take approximately 3 years with production starting in 2025 or 2026.

About Shell

Shell is a global group of energy and petrochemical companies with more than 80,000 employees in more than 70 countries. Shell uses advanced technologies and take an innovative approach to help build a sustainable energy future. Shell’s operations are divided into our businesses: Upstream, Integrated Gas and Renewables and Energy Solutions, and Downstream. Our Projects & Technology organisation manages the delivery of Shell’s major projects and drives our research and innovation. Powering Progress sets out our strategy to accelerate the transition of our business to net-zero emissions, in step with society. It is designed to deliver value for our shareholders, for our customers and for wider society. Powering Progress serves four main goals: generating shareholder value, achieving net-zero emissions, powering lives and respecting nature.

About Enerkem

Enerkem has developed and commercializes a disruptive technology producing advanced biofuels and renewable chemicals from non-recyclable waste. Headquartered in Montréal, Québec, Canada, Enerkem operates a full-scale commercial demonstration facility in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada as well as an innovation centre in Québec. A full-scale commercial facility in Varennes, Quebec, Canada is currently under construction and commissioning is scheduled for 2023. Enerkem’s technology is a prime example of how carbon in waste can be recycled into new products, diversifying the energy mix and making everyday products greener while offering a smart, sustainable alternative to landfilling and incineration. For more information, visit, follow us on Twitter@Enerkem or consult our LinkedIn or Facebook pages.

About Port of Rotterdam

The aim of the Port of Rotterdam Authority is to strengthen the competitive position of the port of Rotterdam as a logistics hub and a world-class industrial complex in terms of both size and quality. The Port Authority is able and willing to make an impact and so it is focusing on accelerating sustainability in the port and it is a partner in the digitalisation of the port and logistics chains. The Port Authority’s core tasks are the sustainable development, management and operation of the port, the maintenance of the smooth and safe handling of shipping and supporting the future-resilience of the port of Rotterdam.

About Air Liquide

Air Liquide in Benelux comprises subsidiaries active in the production, distribution, and sale of industrial and medical gases, technologies and services of the Air Liquide Group. Founded in Belgium in 1906 and in the Netherlands in 1913, Air Liquide currently operates 27 industrial sites throughout the Benelux. The Group currently employs more than 1,200 people in this region, all activities taken together, and it supplies more than 65,000 customers and patients.The Air Liquide Benelux Large Industries business line operates a pipeline network stretching 2,250 kilometers, which supplies the industrial basins from Mons to Rotterdam. Visit our blog or follow us on  LinkedIn or Facebook.


Media contact

Sjaak Poppe
+31 (0)6 2246 6553

[1] WEF_Clean_Skies_Tomorrow_SAF_Analytics_2020.pdf (