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Bioindustrial Innovation Canada - BIC*

$15 million for 2008-15
About   |   News

Number of partners

Partner contributions
$194 million

Sarnia, Ontario

Executive Director
Murray McLaughlin Murray McLaughlin

Board chair
A.J. (Sandy) Marshall A.J. (Sandy) Marshall,
former President, LANXESS Canada

Building a hybrid chemistry cluster in southern Ontario

The opportunity

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.

Learn more

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* (formerly known as Bioindustrial Innovation Centre - BIC)