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BioAmber to open biochemical/bioplastics plant in Ontario

BioAmber Inc. has selected Sarnia, ON as the location for its first North American biosuccinic acid plant, with an initial capacity of 17,000 tonnes that will be commissioned in 2013. Working through its subsidiary Bluewater Biochemicals, BioAmber said permitting work for the plant was initiated in June 2011. BioAmber currently produces and sells biobased succinic acid from a 3000-tonne capacity plant in France.

BioAmber Inc. has selected Sarnia, ON as the location for its first North American biosuccinic acid plant, with an initial capacity of 17,000 tonnes that will be commissioned in 2013. Working through its subsidiary Bluewater Biochemicals, BioAmber said permitting work for the plant was initiated in June 2011. BioAmber currently produces and sells biobased succinic acid from a 3000-tonne capacity plant in France.

BioAmber plans to double capacity in Sarnia by 2014 through the introduction of a next‐generation yeast being developed with Cargill. BioAmber also plans to produce 1,4‐Butanediol (BDO) on the site, using technology exclusively licensed from DuPont that converts succinic acid to BDO, a chemical with a $4 billion existing market. The goal is for the Sarnia plant to produce 35,000 tonnes of biosuccinic and 23,000 tonnes of biobased BDO at its peak.

The Ontario Ministry for Economic Development and Trade (MEDT), Sustainable Development Technology Canada (SDTC) and the Canadian Sustainable Chemistry Alliance helped secure $35 million in grants and loans for BioAmber to locate in Sarnia. The plant's first phase is expected to generate 150 construction jobs and 40 full-time jobs. Additional hiring is expected as capacity is increased and BDO production comes on line.

BioAmber's products include modified PBS, a biodegradable plastic reportedly offering better heat resistance and process ability than other biopolymers. BioAmber's partners include Cargill, DuPont Applied Biosciences, Mitsui & Co., and Mitsubishi Chemical. BioAmber is also leveraging its succinic acid expertise to develop a biobased adipic acid platform. The company has offices and research labs in Minneapolis, MN, an office in Montreal, a sales office in Shanghai, China and a production plant in Pomacle, France.

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