Sarnia lands another demonstration plant

Sarnia-Lambton Economic Partnership CEO, Stephen Thompson, and Senior Economic Development Officer, Matthew Slotwinski, pose for a photo with President of Imtex, Karlis Vasarais, and Minister of Innovation, Science, and Economic Development, Navdeep Bains, at the Imtex Headquarters in Mississauga. Feb. 1, 2019. Pictured (left-to-right) are: Wayne Maddever (Bioindustrial Innovation Canada), Stephen Thompson, Karlis Vasarais, Minister Bains, Matthew Slotwinski, and Tim Knapp. Submitted photo.

Imtex Membranes has announced plans to build a $15 million plant on two acres at Arlanxeo’s bio-industrial site.

President Karlis Vasarais hopes to start constructing its first scaled demonstration site in late summer and have it operational within 12 to 15 months.

“We separate olefins from paraffins,” said Vasarais. “Olefins are the building blocks of plastics and paraffins are things that we burn, called propanes and butanes. The process traditionally is done by distillation and cryogenic distillation, which is quite expensive and also imperfect. We’re able to do it with a membrane technology that dramatically reduces energy and with that, also the greenhouse gas emission requirements.”

He said locating within the Sarnia-Lambton Hybrid Chemistry Cluster seemed to be the perfect fit.

“For us to integrate within a site, like the Arlanxeo site, dramatically reduces our out of pocket expense for established infrastructures,” he said. “Access to flare, access to wastewater, access to rail storage… never mind the actual community has the type of operators and technicians that we would be looking for, for our site.”

Vasarais said they’ll employ about 20 full-time operators and technicians at the demonstration site, but hope to employ about 30 more people once a full-sized commercial facility is complete.

The Mississauga based company received a $6 million funding injection from Sustainable Development Technology Canada for the project.