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Enerkem CEO Vincent Chornet, right, shows Alberta Premier Ed Stelmach, centre, and Edmonton Mayor Stephen Mandel the shredded garbage used to make biofuel in 2013. ((CBC))

Edmonton broke ground at its landfill Tuesday morning for a plant that will convert household garbage to biofuel.

The project is the first of its kind in the world, the city says. The $80-million plant will be built, owned and operated by Enerkem, a company based in Montreal. 

"With Enerkem's help, 90 per cent of the city's waste will be saved from landfills," he said.

By late 2011, once the plant is operational, 100,000 tonnes of garbage a year will be taken out of the landfill and turned into 36 million litres of ethanol.

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Enerkem CEO Vincent Chornet holds the type of material that will be turned into biofuel at the plant in 2013. ((CBC))

"The biofuels facility will reduce greenhouse gas emissions equivalent to taking away from the roads 42,000 cars every year," said Roy Neehall, manager of the city's waste management branch.

Garbage will be trucked to the landfill, where whatever is left after recycling and composting will be shredded, dehydrated, then turned into methanol and ethanol.

"With Enerkem's help, 90 per cent of the city's waste will be saved from landfills," said Enerkem chief executive officer, Vincent Chornet.

Chornet said the plant will create enough fuel to run about 400,000 cars a year that run on a five per cent ethanol blend.