Sarnia Lands Another Biomass Plant

Trans Alta. BlackburnNews.com file photo.

Sarnia has been chosen as the site for another green energy plant.

London Ontario based Comet Biorefining is going to build a commercial scale biomass derived sugar facility at the TransAlta Energy Park.

The first-of-its-kind plant, to come online in 2018, will produce 60-million lbs of dextrose sugar per year from locally-sourced corn stover and wheat straw left in farm fields after harvest.

The dextrose sugars will be transformed into bio-based products including organic and amino acids and bioplastics.

Sarnia Mayor Mike Bradley says it’s a huge win for the community that helps boost the city’s already strong bio-industrial cluster.

He expects as many as 50 jobs to be created.

“This is a huge breakthrough for the bio-innovations centre, the research park, the college and all the other parties that have been involved,” says Bradley.

“Coming on top of the BioAmber plant this is developing Sarnia-Lambton as a cluster for biofuels in Canada.”

Ontario Federation of Agriculture President Don McCabe says “establishing new uses for agricultural residues in the bio-based chemical supply chain leads to sustainable farms and new markets.”

Mayor Bradley also says the Comet Biorefining announcement could lead to BioAmber constructing a second plant in Sarnia.

The Montreal-based company is considering building another facility, expected to cost $500-million, and has been looking at sites in Sarnia-Lambton, Louisiana and the U.S. Midwest.

In the meantime, BioAmber has announced that Mitsui &Co. Ltd., its partner in the Sarnia bio-succinic acid plant, is investing an additional $25 million in the joint venture.

Mitsui’s stake in the operation will increase from 30 to 40 per cent with BioAmber maintaining the other 60 per cent controlling interest.

Mitsui officials says they will be more actively involved in joint venture management and sales and has received quality certifications from more than 90 customers.