The Canadian subsidiary of U.S.-based biotechnology developer BioAmber Inc. has secured a $7 million grant to support the ongoing construction of a $135 million bio-succinic acid plant that is under construction in Sarnia, Ont.
The grant, from Sustainable Development Technology Canada (SDTC), is in addition to a $7.5 million grant that SDTC provided to BioAmber Sarnia in 2012.
“BioAmber secured this additional funding after expanding the scope of the Sarnia plant, nearly doubling the production capacity from 17,000 metric tons to 30,000 metric tons per year, and increasing the number of jobs that will be created,” Minneapolis, Minn.-based BioAmber said in a statement. “The SDTC grant also supports the switch to BioAmber’s second-generation yeast, which proved to be significantly more cost competitive than the bacteria-based fermentation originally designed to operate in Sarnia.”
When completed in early 2015, BioAmber said, the Sarnia plant will be the world’s largest succinic acid production facility.
“Commercializing an innovative, clean technology that is cost disruptive to the petrochemical industry is a major undertaking, and it needs government support to become a reality,” Mike Hartmann, BioAmber’s executive VP, said in the company statement. “We are making chemicals cleaner and cheaper than the petrochemical route, and this will translate into lasting environmental and economic benefits for Canada”.
Produced using corn-derived feedstock, succinic acid is used to manufacture plastics, resins, solvents, and other materials.