Canadian Biomass Magazine

Varennes Carbon Recycling chooses Accelera for biorefinery electrolyzer system

March 20, 2023
By Varennes Carbon Recycling

Varennes Carbon Recycling's plant in Quebec will use renewable hydrogen and oxygen to turn non-recyclable waste into biofuels and circular chemicals.

Accelera by Cummins, a business segment of Cummins Inc., will supply a 90-megawatt proton exchange membrane (PEM) electrolyzer system for Varennes Carbon Recycling’s (VCR) plant in Quebec – a key step in advancing North America’s green hydrogen economy.

VCR is a consortium between Shell, Suncor and Proman, with the support of the Canadian and Quebec governments. The biorefinery will be powered by the exclusive waste-to-methanol technology platform developed by Enerkem.

This electrolyzer system will be comprised of four HyLYZER-5000s – Accelera’s largest electrolyzer product. Each HyLYZER-5000 utilizes 25MW of electricity and can produce up to 10 tons of hydrogen per day. This first-of-its-kind installation will provide the capacity needed to generate clean, renewable hydrogen and oxygen for VCR’s conversion of waste material to low-carbon-intensity fuels and circular chemicals. The facility is under construction and scheduled to be operational in 2025.

“VCR is thrilled to partner with Cummins’ new brand Accelera on this ground-breaking project,” said Cole Henderson, general manager and portfolio engineering director at VCR. “Accelera’s PEM electrolyzer product, when coupled with the Enerkem technology platform, will double the yield of the methanol produced from waste material. The synergies of the colocation of the biorefinery and the electrolyser, powered with Quebec clean electricity, really set a new precedent in the biofuel and circular chemicals sectors. We are looking forward to this new strategic partnership.”

An electrolyzer splits water into hydrogen and oxygen. The hydrogen can be stored as a compressed gas or liquid and used as an energy-dense, clean power source to help decarbonize a variety of hard-to-abate sectors. The VCR plant will use both the renewable hydrogen and oxygen to recycle carbon and hydrogen from waste materials.

“Our partnership with VCR illustrates Accelera’s role as a global technology leader and highlights our ability to scale hydrogen production across a variety of industries,” Amy Davis, president of Accelera by Cummins, said. “This project will be the first installation of Accelera’s HyLYZER-5000, which generates five times more hydrogen than any of our PEM electrolyzer products currently in use and can accommodate the power needs for large-scale hydrogen production. Additionally, this is the first time our electrolyzers will power biofuel and circular chemical production, showcasing our unique capabilities to innovate and meet customer demands while accelerating the shift to net-zero emissions.”

Cummins launched its zero-emissions technology brand Accelera on March 8, with a broad portfolio of market-leading renewable hydrogen solutions that have been part of many of the world’s hydrogen “firsts,” including powering the world’s largest PEM electrolyzer in operation at 20 MW in Bécancour, Canada; the world’s first megawatt-scale demonstration plant for storing wind energy in the natural gas grid in Windgas Falkenhagen, Germany; and the world’s first hydrogen refuelling station for ships, cars, trucks and industrial customers in Antwerp, Belgium.


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