SARNIA, ON – Bioindustrial Innovation Canada (BIC) has confirmed the potential of available technologies to convert agricultural biomass to sugar. The production of these sugars and co-products would support the production of bioproducts such as biochemicals and biofuels and increase agricultural markets.
The assessment concluded that there is sufficient economic value with available technologies to support the development of a commercial plant to produce cellulosic sugar and co-products in southwestern Ontario utilizing locally-harvested corn stover.
The evaluation process managed by BIC included the participation of farm organizations, industries currently using agricultural biomass, and technology providers. The study focused on agricultural biomass supply, the economics of biomass conversion technology, and the market acceptance of cellulosic sugar and co-products.
The project was aimed at better understanding the potential commercial value of agricultural residues and how these could be transformed to support a feedstock supply for bioproducts. This project was developed based on previous studies dating back to 2010.
The Cellulosic Sugar Producers Cooperative, an Ontario-based farmer’s cooperative, has accepted the recommendations and is now actively collaborating with potential partners to establish a sustainable agricultural biomass supply chain and commercialize cellulosic sugars and co-products conversion technology.
“We have provided our recommendations to the Cellulosic Sugar Producers Cooperative and anticipate that it can now be used as the basis to establish a commercially viable agricultural biomass to sugars value chain within Southern Ontario. This initiative creates significant momentum for the development of the bioeconomy in Canadian agriculture and supports the building of bio-product clusters across Canada,” said Dr. Murray McLaughlin, BIC Executive Director. Dr. McLaughlin adds, “Knowledge gained through this study is transferable to other jurisdictions and we look forward to supporting our colleagues in Alberta as they work towards developing similar projects”.
In its first phase, creation of this agricultural biomass to cellulosic sugar and co-products value chain will generate over 100 direct and indirect full-time jobs and inject more than $100 million into the Ontario economy and will lead to reductions in GHG emissions and climate change impacts.
“The creation of cellulosic sugar supply chain in southern Ontario further strengthens Canada’s position as a leader in the global bioeconomy”, said J.F. Huc, CEO of BioAmber. “We commend BIC and its partners for this important work and we are excited at the prospect of sourcing these sugars for our Sarnia facility when they become commercially available”.
About Bioindustrial Innovation Canada (BIC)
Bioindustrial Innovation Canada (BIC) is a Canadian not-for-profit organization catalyzing the commercialization of Cleantech with focus on bio-based and sustainable chemistry-based technologies including advanced biofuels, biochemicals, biomaterials and bio-ingredients. Based in Sarnia, Ontario, the BIC mission is to create jobs and economic value sustainably in Canada.
This project was funded in part through Growing Forward 2 (GF2), a federal-provincial-territorial initiative. The Agricultural Adaptation Council (AAC) assists in delivery of GF2 in Ontario. The project was also financially supported by BIC and its partners, which include Grain Farmers of Ontario, the Cellulosic Sugar Producers Cooperative, BioAmber Inc., the Integrated Grain Producers Co-operative Inc. (IGPC), Jungbunzlauer Canada Inc., Ontario Agri-Food Technologies (OAFT) and Alberta Innovates Bio Solutions. The initial biomass aggregation demonstration and supply chain study was supported by the Ontario Federation of Agriculture (OFA), La Coop Federée, Agriculture and Agri-Foods Canada (AAFC) and through the national agriculture BioProducts Cluster led by BIC.
Dr. Murray McLaughlin, Executive Director