Number of partners
A.J. (Sandy) Marshall,
former President, LANXESS Canada
Building a hybrid chemistry cluster in southern Ontario
Rising oil prices and growing concerns over environmental sustainability – combined with ongoing economic challenges in the forestry, agricultural
and chemical industries – are creating strong incentives to use forestry and
agricultural materials to create green fuels, green chemicals and green
products. Southwestern Ontario is the heartland of Canada’s chemical and
plastic industries. It is also home to thousands of hectares of prime agricultural
land. BIC, a CECR, has brought these sectors together to establish Sarnia as an
international biohybrid cluster that converts forestry and agricultural materials
into biofuels, biobased chemicals and bioproducts for a wide range of
applications, from construction materials to automotive parts.
How BIC is seizing this opportunity
Bioindustrial Innovation Canada has partnered with companies in the chemical, energy, automotive, agricultural and forestry
sectors to position the Sarnia-Lambton region as a world-scale Hybrid Chemistry Cluster. It has created North America’s first
bioindustrial laboratories and shared pilot plant facilities (Bowman Centre) for gasification, pyrolysis, fermentation and bioconversion – key technologies involved in converting agricultural and forestry by-products into fuels, chemicals, products and
materials. The accelerator is home to three companies – Woodland Biofuels, GreenCore Composites and KmX Corp. – which
collaborate with more than 80 researchers from 24 institutions and companies to build, demonstrate and test new technologies.
BIC has also provided critical commercialization funding through its Sustainable Chemistry Alliance Innovation Fund.
Among the results
- The Sustainable Chemistry Alliance Innovation Fund has invested $5.5 million in 13 projects to date, which has generated
over $141 million in direct matching funds. An additional $10.8 million was received from Ontario Ministry of Research
and Innovation (MRI) and Ontario Ministry of Agriculture and Food (OMAF) during the life of the CECR.
- To date, 335 direct full time jobs; 1,588 indirect jobs, and 838 construction jobs have been created through the project
activities supported by BIC.
- Three of BIC’s investees – EcoSynthetix Inc. (Burlington), BioAmber Inc. (Montréal/Sarnia) and BlueOcean Nutrasciences
Inc. (Toronto) – have since raised $100 million, $80 million and $20 million respectively in public offerings. This brings
total capital raised to well over $400 million dollars for BIC’s 13 investments.
- BioAmber is using its $80 million (US) in new capital to move into full-scale production (30,000 tonnes) of bio-based
succinic acid at the Sarnia facility, beginning in 2015.
- BIC collaborates with the Biobased Delta open innovation cluster in the Netherlands to accelerate international
commercialization in three areas: biomass to sugars; bio-based chemicals and aromatics; and pyrolysis. Another
agreement with Life Sciences Queensland Ltd. in Australia is focusing on chemicals from sugars, lignin-based materials
and composites. Similar partnerships have been established with organizations in Malaysia, South Africa and Argentina.
- Envirofresh Farms and CF Industries (nitrogen fertilizer facility) partnered with BIC for consulting service to support the
construction of nine hectares of greenhouses adjacent to the CF Facility in Lambton County, ON. The greenhouses use
carbon dioxide and waste heat from the fertilizer plant operations to support the growth of vegetables.
- BIC supported access to specialized facilities at Lambton College for private sector commercialization projects by
chemical company LANXESS Canada and bio-fuel producer GreenField Ethanol.
* (formerly known as Bioindustrial Innovation Centre - BIC)