Good afternoon here in sunny San Diego! Day 2 of the BIO World Congress in Industrial Biotechnology and our friends from Sustainability Consult sent us this news regarding BioAmber’s plans to soon use cellulosic high-purity dextrose for their bio-succinic acid in Sarnia, Canada, as well as other products (bio-BDO, bio-THF) in future planned facilities.
BioAmber has signed an off-take agreement with Comet Biorefining for its high-purity cellulosic dextrose, which Comet plans to produce in a new 60 million pounds/year (~27 ktpa) facility in Sarnia that is expected to come online in 2018. BioAmber said it will have certain exclusive rights for the cellulosic dextrose in the fields of succinic acid, BDO and THF. BioAmber also has provided an equity investment in Comet last year, and CEO Jean-Francois Huc is now joining Comet’s board of directors.
Ever since Comet Biorefining announced their new cellulosic sugar facility plans in Sarnia, it already made sense for me that BioAmber will be part of this project. The key here is that Comet said its sugars will be price competitive versus corn or cane-derived sugars. Comet can also build smaller-scale facilities enabling greater flexibility to locate production closer to biomass supplies, and thus also enabling lower greenhouse gas footprint.
Of course, subscribers of Tecnon OrbiChem’s Bio-Materials newsletter will get more updates on the current bio-succinic acid (and petro-succinic acid) market situation. I am also monitoring activities from other second generation sugar companies. There are actually interesting slides on cellulosic sugars that industry consultant, Vonnie Estes presented, which are posted recently on Biofuel Digest. You might also want to check those out.