Canadian Manufacturing

Canadian cleantech firm plans to build $20M Sarnia, Ont. biorefinery

S2G BioChem will produce sustainable xylitol at the new facility, a sweetener used in food products such as chewing gum


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VANCOUVER—Another biotechnology company is setting up shop in southwestern Ontario.

West Coast-based S2G BioChem revealed plans June 20 to build a new biorefinery in Sarnia, Ont., adding another name to the city’s roster of biochemical and biofuel firms, which already includes, BioAmber Inc., Biox Corp. and Comet Biorefining Inc., among others.

The commercial-scale facility is expected to cost about $20 million and will produce low-cost xylitol from forestry and agriculture residues.

Mark Kirby, S2G BioChem’s president and CEO, said the demonstration plant will help the cleantech firm set the stage for future growth while providing feedstock suppliers in and around Sarnia with a new revenue stream.

“Locating this new biorefinery in Canada is important as its high efficiency and use of sustainable feedstocks will reduce greenhouse gas and effluent emissions,” he said in a statement.

“We will gain invaluable experience before replicating this high-yield facility throughout North America and the rest of the world.”

The new plant is backed by a number of investors, including snack food giant Mondelez International Inc., which the Canadian company partnered with last year. Mondelez, which makes Oreo cookies, Cadbury chocolate and Trident gum, along with a long list of other products, has an active interest in developing new sources for xylitol.

Xylitol is a sweetener that contains fewer calories than sugar and is best known for being used in chewing gum.

At the new plant, S2G BioChem plans to put its new method for producing the compound to the test on a larger scale. The cleantech firm say its chemical conversion process to extract xylitol from corn cobs or trees is cheaper than the conventional method.

The company plans to start work on the facility next year.

The new site is expected to create 13 new jobs in Sarnia.


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