Waste-to-biofuels company Enerkem Inc. raised nearly $60 million in financing, further cementing its relationship with Waste Management (NYSE: WM) on the supply side and forming a new path to market with fuel refiner Valero Energy (NYSE: VLO) on the demand side.
Enerkem was named one of the World’s 50 Most Innovative Companies by Fast Company Magazine in 2011. Its technology produces ethanol and chemicals from waste materials, such as unrecyclable household garbage, demolition debris and used utility poles.
Valero Energy Corp. joined existing investors Waste Management, Rho Ventures, Braemar Energy Ventures and Cycle Capital in the latest round, which brings Enerkem’s total funding to around $130 million to date.
Valero and Enerkem also formally agreed to pursue commercial opportunities together. Valero has investments in 10 ethanol plants throughout the US Midwest.
Valero is the largest oil refiner in the US, and the fourth biggest polluter in California. The company is probably best known in cleantech circles for its backing of Proposition 23 in California, which attempted to derail the state’s climate plan.
“With Valero joining Waste Management as a strategic investor, Enerkem becomes one of the very few renewable products companies that is aligned with industry leaders from both upstream and downstream parts of the business,” says Vincent Chornet, Enerkem CEO.
The financing round comes on the heels of $130 million from the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) and Department of Energy (DOE) for construction of a factory in Pontotoc, Mississippi, expected to break ground later this year.
Construction is already underway on a similar 36 million litre per year waste-to-biofuels facility in Edmonton, Alberta, the company’s second commercial facility. The company currently operates two facilities in Quebec.