Xebec Adsorption Inc. is a homegrown Canadian gas purification technology company experiencing global success. Headquartered in Blainville, QC, Xebec designs, engineers and manufactures innovative products that transform raw gases into marketable sources of clean energy.
Founded in 1967, Xebec was originally a compressed air dryer manufacturer. In 2006, when the large conglomerate that had bought Xebec years before planned to close and sell Xebec, Kurt Sorschak, General Manager of Xebec at the time, and his two partners decided to buy the company. In 2007, Xebec Adsorption Inc. was formed. Sorschak, now President and CEO of Xebec, saw the potential of renewable natural gas (RNG) and in 2009 Xebec bought a biogas purification technology firm in Vancouver through a reverse takeover and Xebec became a public company. Following the buyout, Xebec shifted their attention from gas drying to gas purification.
In 2009, renewable energy such as wind and solar had started to gain significant traction and Sorschak and his partners expected RNG to follow the same path. Sorschak, who is originally from Austria, was familiar with the longer history of biogas utilization in Europe for RNG and transportation, especially in Germany and Sweden. From 2009 to 2016, Xebec invested in developing their purification technology for the nascent RNG industry. When the RNG industry began to rapidly grow in 2016 driven by renewable fuel regulations in the United States and Europe, Xebec was ready with a reliable, field-tested technology to supply to the market.
Xebec is one of the pioneers of biogas upgrading in Canada. They have participated in developing purification technologies locally since the early 2000’s. With their relatively long history in the industry they have sequentially made improvements on performance and reliability of the technologies. The advantage of their adsorption technology is the low operating pressure, 4-6 bar, and high methane recovery rate, 99% for digester biogas and 98% for landfill gas. Xebec’s adsorption systems have a small footprint and are designed to give the customer the lowest operating costs, high reliability, and high revenue.
Sorschak recognizes that with the emergent RNG sector, it can be difficult for clients to determine the best technology since historically there have been limited installations to reference. However, now more and more projects are in operation across the globe, people can see what type of technology works well and reliably. Sorschak notes “The market is starting to realize what is reliable and achieves results, I am pleased to see that our adsorption system is one technology that is making it to the foreground.”
On November 27th, 2017, Xebec was recognized by Export Development Canada as one of three “Cleantech Export Stars”. Xebec has had international success and recently announced more than $9.8M in recent biogas orders from Europe and China. Currently their technology is being used on half of the biogas upgrading projects in France. Along with their headquarters and manufacturing facility in Blainville, QC, they have a second manufacturing facility in Shanghai and sales offices in Texas and Italy.
Sorschak sees a bright future for the biogas upgrading industry and notes that due to regulations the market is considerably larger than it was 18 months ago. There is an increased need to utilize renewable energy, and while renewable electricity can be produced in many ways there are only a few options for renewable fuels. Looking forward, Sorschak predicts “There will be a large sector of heavy duty transportation trucks that will move from diesel to natural gas to RNG, and we are confident that Xebec is well positioned to play a role in this transition.”
Xebec joined the Canadian Biogas Association in 2015. They became members because they recognize the importance for competitive emerging industries to organize to communicate the vision of the sector to drive growth. Sorschak adds that “The industry relies on organizations such as the CBA to fulfil this function and convey the benefits of RNG to politicians, lawmakers and government.”