Innovation Prominent in Local Biohybrid Chemistry Cluster

Innovation is one of the six measuring sticks the Intelligent Community Forum (ICF) uses to assess the technological and communications intelligence of a community. It says intelligent communities pursue innovation through the triple helix of relationships between business, government, and academic, which helps keep the economic benefits of innovation local.

In Sarnia-Lambton, the business, government, and academia sectors have come together in establishing the Biohybrid Chemistry Cluster.  Highlighted by representation from Lambton College’s Bio-industrial Process Research Centre, the Western Sarnia-Lambton Research Park, the Sarnia-Lambton Economic Partnership, Bio-industrial Innovation Canada (BIC), the Cellulosic Sugar Producers Cooperative, the Ontario Innovative Sugar Beet Processors Cooperative, Comet Biorefininig Inc., and BioAmber Inc., the group leverages Sarnia-Lambton’ expertise in cash crop farming, the petrochemical industry, biochemical research, and commercialization partnerships.  One project’s path can be traced from research to commercialization to agricultural production to crop waste conversion to biochemical feedstock to manufacturing materials.

The results, to date, have been promising.

In 2016, the Centre of Excellence in Energy & Bio-Industrial Technologies and the Bioindustrial Process Research Centre were established to support the bio-industry with applied research, technological development, and knowledge transfer by providing research facilities, laboratories, students, and faculty support.

BIC has expanded to include the $27 million Centre for Commercialization of Sustainable Chemistry – a hub for commercialization of sustainable chemistry and bio-based innovation demonstration and scale-up.

The Ontario Innovative Sugarbeet Processors Co-operative (OISPC) was formed to investigate the possibility of supplying companies with sugars, being increasingly used to create bio-based polymers. The organization worked with BIC to conduct a preliminary economic analysis, and is currently identifying opportunities for a grower-owned production facility that could support 30,000 acres of sugar beet production.

The Cellulosic Sugar Producers Cooperative (CSPC) has collaborated on a pre-feasibility study with the Western Sarnia-Lambton Research Park and uGuelph-Ridgetown to determine biomass supply and cost, cellulosic glucose plant capital and operating costs, sugar market quality requirements and pricing, and the appropriate investment model.

The CSPC aims to accumulate commitments for 55,000 acres of corn stover biomass, to be received as a feedstock stream by the Comet Biorefining facility to be built in 2018. Comet will take the biomass from CSPC for processing into industrial sugars. In turn, BioAmber will take Comet’s outputs to produce succinic acid that will be utilized as a value-added manufacturing material for auto parts makers, paint companies, and other finished product companies.

The future looks bright for Sarnia-Lambton, as many communities nationally and internationally look to this intelligent community for leadership in innovation and partnerships between business, government, and academia.

Be sure to visit our website again next week as we explore how advancements in Digital Equality are being made in our community.


What Makes an Intelligent Community?

Expanding Rural Broadband in Lambton County

Identifying Digital Skills Gaps in Sarnia-Lambton’s Workforce