BioAmber's Bio-Based Succinic Acid Production Plant, Ontario, Canada


The project follows the success of the company's first bio-based succinic acid plant

BioAmber and Mitsui & Co. opened a bio-based succinic acid production plant at a bio-industrial park owned by Lanxess in Sarnia, Ontario, Canada, in August 2015. At 30,000t a year, the new plant is the biggest of its kind in the world.

Acting as the operator, BioAmber has a 70% share in the partnership, while Mitsui owns the remaining 30% share.

The project generated approximately 300 construction jobs and 60 permanent jobs. The permitting work for the project was initiated in June 2011 and the start of construction was announced in August 2011.

The project follows the success of the company's first bio-based succinic acid plant with a production capacity of 3,000t in Pomacle, France, which has been operational since November 2009.

Location of Ontario's succinic acid production plant

Sarnia was specifically chosen due to the presence of useful infrastructure, skilled labour, educational facilities, competitive transportation costs and proximity to rich agricultural lands.

The site facilitates access to utilities and certain raw materials and finished product shipment, including steam, electricity, hydrogen, water treatment and carbon dioxide.

Details of BioAmber's bio-based succinic acid plant

"BioAmber has a 70% share in the partnership."

Succinic acid is used as a raw material for producing polyurethanes, coatings, adhesives, sealants, personal care ingredients and as a preservative in the food industry. BioAmber has developed a proprietary process to produce bio-succinic acid sustainably from renewable plant feedstock instead of petroleum.

The 30,000t of bio-based succinic acid produced from the plant will save more than 218,000t of carbon dioxide emissions and 1.8 trillion British thermal units (Btu) of energy a year.

Electricity needs of the new plant are met through the province's power grid. The waste steam for processing bio-based succinic acid is sourced from a neighbouring electricity cogeneration facility.

Renewable feedstock and process technology

The renewable feedstock used by BioAmber for the production of succinic acid include corn, wheat, cassava, rice, sugarcane, sugar beets and forest waste.

BioAmber implements its patented fermentation and purification process to produce succinic acid.

The feedstock is initially transported by trucks to a wet mill facility, where it is processed into glucose (dextrose) syrup and other valuable co-products.

The glucose is then transported to the Sarnia plant, where it is fermented to raw bio-based succinic acid and later purified to crystalline, bio-based, succinic acid before being shipped.

Financing BioAmber's bio-based succinic acid facility in Sarnia

The cost for the construction of the plant was $141.5m. The Federal Economic Development Agency for Southern Ontario (FedDev Ontario) invested $12m through its Prosperity Initiative. Financial support was also received from the Export Development Canada, the Farm Credit Corp and Comerica Bank.

Marketing commentary for BioAmber

BioAmber is an industrial biotechnology company producing renewable chemicals. The company has offices and research labs in Minneapolis, Minnesota, an office in Montreal, and a sales office in Shanghai, China.

BioAmber and Mitsui completed the feasibility study for a second plant to be located in Thailand with PTT MCC Biochem Company, a joint venture comprising Mitsubishi Chemical Corporation and PTT Public Company.

Construction and operation of a third plant is also in conception stage. It will be located either in North America or Brazil, and have a size similar to the second plant.

NRI Energy Technology