Archived — Government of Canada Invests in Clean Technology for Jobs and Growth in Sarnia

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For immediate release
August 28, 2013

Sarnia, Ontario — BioAmber Sarnia's new bio-based succinic acid plant, the first and only commercial scale production plant of its kind in the world, will receive a $12 million investment from the Harper Government to support its construction in Sarnia. The announcement was made today by Patricia Davidson, Member of Parliament for Sarnia–Lambton, alongside the Honourable Gary Goodyear, Minister of State for the Federal Economic Development Agency for Southern Ontario (FedDev Ontario).

The plant is expected to create 150 construction jobs and 60 permanent jobs once the plant is operational at the end of 2014.

"Our Government is proud to invest in companies that are forming the foundation of a strong green economy in Canada," said MP Davidson. "We welcome BioAmber to this community and look forward to seeing the company evolve and prosper alongside the rest of Sarnia's growing chemical cluster."

Succinic acid is a chemical used in the manufacturing process of many everyday products, such as plastics, cosmetics, automotive parts and construction materials. BioAmber has developed a proprietary process to produce bio-succinic acid sustainably from renewable feedstocks, instead of petroleum.

"Sarnia's unique chemical and transport infrastructure, highly skilled workforce, excellent post-secondary institutions, and proximity to rich agricultural land make it the ideal place for BioAmber's bio-based succinic acid plant," said Minister Goodyear. "This investment will help position Sarnia as a hub for bio-chemical research and innovation, further diversifying the region's economy and establishing the conditions for long-term prosperity in southern Ontario."

A repayable contribution of up to $12 million through FedDev Ontario's Prosperity Initiative is being provided for the construction and operation of BioAmber's $110-million bio-succinic acid plant.

"We are grateful for the support given by FedDev Ontario to BioAmber Sarnia to build a commercial scale bio-based succinic acid plant and in helping develop a new bio-based chemical cluster in Sarnia," said Jean-François Huc, President and CEO, BioAmber. "This initial 30,000-tonne capacity plant is an important step in changing the way the world makes products that historically have only been made through the traditional petro chemical route."

For more information on this project and the Prosperity Initiative, please see the backgrounder.

Created in 2009, FedDev Ontario supports the southern Ontario economy by building on the region's strengths and creating opportunities for jobs and economic growth. In Budget 2013, the Government of Canada demonstrated its continued commitment to workers, families and communities in southern Ontario with the renewal of FedDev Ontario. Economic Action Plan 2013 provides $920 million over five years for the Agency, starting on April 1, 2014. As part of the renewal, FedDev Ontario will be allocating $200 million over five years for a new Advanced Manufacturing Fund in Ontario.

As outlined by the Prime Minister, the Government of Canada remains focused on what Canadians care about most: their families, the safety of our streets and communities, their pride in being a citizen of this country, and their personal financial security.

To learn more, please visit or call 1-866-593-5505.

Follow us on Twitter @FedDevOntario

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For more information, contact:

Stephanie Thomas
Director of Communications
Office of the Honourable Gary Goodyear

Media Relations
FedDev Ontario


Contribution to BioAmber Sarnia

BioAmber is a next-generation chemicals company and a market leader in the development and commercialization of bio-based succinic acid. Its proprietary technology platform combines industrial biotechnology and chemical catalysis to convert renewable feedstocks into sustainable chemicals that are cost-competitive replacements for petroleum-derived chemicals.

BioAmber currently produces bio-based succinic acid in a large-scale demonstration facility in Pomacle, France, which is among the largest bio-chemical manufacturing facilities in the world.

BioAmber Sarnia is a joint venture between BioAmber Inc. (70%), and Mitsui & Co. (30%), one of Japan's largest trading houses. BioAmber has partnerships with market leaders including Cargill, DuPont Applied Biosciences, Mitsui & Co. and Mitsubishi Chemical.

The Prosperity Initiative repayable contribution of up to $12 million will help BioAmber build and operate its first North American plant producing bio-succinic acid plant in Sarnia, Ontario. The Sarnia plant will be the largest bio-succinic acid plant in the world.

BioAmber envisions that the project and the processes it employs will help accelerate sustainable change in the chemical industry and have positive environmental benefits including:

  • Reducing greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions — the Sarnia, Ontario plant will generate 102.5 percent less greenhouse gas emissions compared to petrochemical production of succinic acid.
  • Emission savings associated with displaced petro-succinic acid equivalent to removing over 45,489 cars from the road or saving over 1,686 acres of forest each year.
  • Reduction of energy usage — 64.4 per cent less energy compared to petrochemical production of succinic acid. This means that nearly three times as much bio-based succinic acid as petro-based succinic acid can be produced using the same quantity of energy.

Many partners are also contributing to this $110 million-project, which is expected to create more than 150 construction jobs and 60 permanent jobs once the plant is ready at the end of 2014.

The new plant will help support local economic diversification, with the potential to attract new businesses and strengthen the hybrid chemistry cluster in the area. Sarnia offers easy access to agriculture feedstocks, is located near transportation infrastructure that provides access to the export market, has a skilled workforce with chemical experience, and is one of the pre-eminent chemistry clusters in Canada including organizations such as LANXESS, the Sustainable Chemical Alliance, and the Bioindustrial Innovation Center.

For more information, visit the company's website at

Prosperity Initiative

FedDev Ontario's Prosperity Initiative, as part of the Southern Ontario Advantage initiatives, is encouraging businesses, not-for-profit organizations and post-secondary institutions in southern Ontario to undertake projects resulting in a more productive, diversified and competitive economy in the region.

To date, over $420 million in funding has been committed to over 240 projects under the Southern Ontario Advantage initiatives, resulting in partnerships with more than 5,000 organizations, and over $1.2 billion in additional leveraged investments from almost exclusively non-government sources. All funding for the Advantage initiatives has been committed.

For more information please visit the website at

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