BioAmber wins grant on Canada succinic acid plant

BioAmber announced Wednesday that its Canadian subsidiary BioAmber Sarnia, a joint venture with Mitsui & Co., has secured a C$7 million grant from Sustainable Development Technology Canada (SDTC).  

The funds will be used to support the ongoing construction of the C$135 million ($125 million) bio-succinic acid plant that is under construction in Sarnia, Ontario. 

This grant comes in addition to the $7.5 million grant that SDTC provided to BioAmber Sarnia in 2012. BioAmber secured this additional funding after expanding the scope of the Sarnia plant, nearly doubling the production capacity from 17,000 tpy to 30,000 tpy, and increasing the number of jobs that will be created. 

The SDTC grant also supports the switch to BioAmber's second-generation yeast, which proved to be significantly more cost competitive than the bacteria-based fermentation originally designed to operate in Sarnia. 

When completed in early 2015, the Sarnia plant will be the world's largest succinic acid production facility. BioAmber has secured significant demand for the plant, including a take-or-pay contract with PTTMCC Biochem, a joint venture between Mitsubishi Chemical of Japan and PTT PCL of Thailand, which guarantees the sale of approximately 20% of total plant capacity.

In addition, BioAmber has signed 19 supply and distribution agreements and eight memorandums of understanding, which collectively represent demand that exceeds the plant's annual capacity.

"Commercializing an innovative, clean technology that is cost disruptive to the petrochemical industry is a major undertaking, and it needs government support to become a reality, said Mike Hartmann, executive vice president of BioAmber. "We are making chemicals cleaner and cheaper than the petrochemical route, and this will translate into lasting environmental and economic benefits for Canada."

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