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BioAmber opens new Sarnia, Ont. succinic acid plant

The plant will produce chemicals for plastics using sugar instead of petroleum.


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August 10, 2015 by Canadian Plastics

BioAmber, a renewable chemistry company that uses sugars to produce building block chemicals, officially opened its succinic acid plant in Sarnia, Ont., on August 6.

The $141.5-million Sarnia plant, said to be the largest of its kind in the world, uses its renewable and largely Ontario-grown feedstock to create succinic acid — a building block chemical traditionally made from petrochemicals. Produced using corn-derived feedstock, succinic acid is used to manufacture plastics, resins, solvents, and other materials. The glucose used by the new BioAmber plant will be sourced from southern Ontario agricultural suppliers.

The 30,000-tonne capacity plant has zero greenhouse gas emissions and uses two-thirds less energy than comparable petrochemical processes, BioAmber said.

BioAmber Sarnia’s financial partners include Export Development Canada, the Farm Credit Corporation and Comerica Bank. The plant’s construction cost approximately US$141.5 million and was built jointly with Mitsui & Co. The project employed 300 workers during construction and will create 60 full-time positions.

“The opening of the BioAmber Sarnia facility is key to the development of Sarnia’s very unique bio-industrial complex, delivering good jobs, significant exports, and diverse markets for Ontario farmers with the full support of the Government of Ontario,” Brad Duguid, Ontario Minister of Economic Development, Employment and Infrastructure, said in a statement. “The production and development of sustainable chemicals by BioAmber, working from within the existing chemistry cluster in Sarnia, is an economic and environmental win for the community and the province.”