Canadian Manufacturing

BioAmber’s new Sarnia, Ont. plant to produce chemicals using sugar instead of petroleum

Company's new facility is the world's largest succinic acid plant

SARNIA—BioAmber, a renewable chemistry company that uses sugars to produce building block chemicals, has announced the opening of its succinic acid plant in Sarnia, Ont.

As opposed to using petroleum to produce chemicals, BioAmber Sarnia will use innovative biotechnology to produce succinic acid from sugar at a cost lower than oil-based production. The new facility is the world’s largest succinic acid production plant and will be globally competitive while making chemicals more sustainably. The glucose the plant uses will be sourced from southern Ontario agricultural suppliers.

“We’re excited that our renewable chemicals made from sugars are making everyday applications around the world more sustainable. We believe our disruptive biotechnology is going to profitably deliver benefits for the environment, our customers, our shareholders and the Sarnia Lambton community,” BioAmber CEO, JF Huc, said.

After production, succinic acid can be used in plastics, paints, textiles and coatings, artificial leather, food and flavours and personal care products. Meanwhile, the innovative production method allows for a 100 per cent reduction in greenhouse gas emissions compared to the process invovling petroleum.

The company said BioAmber Sarnia is part of the growing bio-industrial cluster in Sarnia Lambton and has received support from the Government of Canada and the Government of Ontario through the Ontario Ministry of Economic Development, Employment and Infrastructure’s Strategic Jobs and Investment Fund.

“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.

“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,” he added.

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.

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