Canadian Manufacturing

BioAmber lands customer for biochemicals made in Ontario

Succinic acid produced by BioAmber in Sarnia, Ont., will be used to manufacture cast polyurethane elastomers



SARNIA, Ont.—A biochemical plant in Ontario will soon ship bio-based succinic acid produced there to a customer in China under a five-year supply deal.

According to BioAmber Inc., its BioAmber Sarnia Inc. subsidiary, which operates a biochemical plant in Sarnia, Ont., will soon begin supplying succinic acid to Xuchuan Chemical Co., Ltd.

The company, which operates four polyester polyol plants in China, will use the succinic acid for cast polyurethane elastomers (CPU).

CPU is used to make automotive instrument clusters, caster wheels, power tools, drive belts and hoses, among other products.

By replacing adipic acid with succinic acid, BioAmber claims Xuchuan will produce CPUs that are more scratch resistant and more resistant to solvents.

Initial volumes sold to Xuchuan under the contract, which runs from 2015 through 2019, is estimated at 300 to 500 tonnes per year.

As the company expands its succinic acid-based polyester production to other applications, including resins for shoe soles, coating and synthetic leathers, BioAmber said the long-term supply potential could be several thousand tonnes per year.

“Our deal with Xuchuan is further validation of the growing market for our succinic acid,” BioAmber chief commercial officer Babette Pettersen said in a statement.

“This supply agreement is indicative of the volumes that can be generated from a single customer in one application segment. Our contract with Xuchuan demonstrates that our succinic acid can improve the performance of materials such as CPU and that it is price competitive in the Chinese market.”

Produced using corn-derived feedstock, succinic acid is used to manufacture paints, plastics, resins, de-icers, pharmaceuticals, solvents, food additives, fabrics and cosmetics.

The plant in Sarnia is expected to be completed in early 2015 and will have an initial capacity of 30,000 tonnes per year.

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