Canadian Biomass Magazine

Comet Biorefining to build commercial sugar plant in Sarnia

February 18, 2016
By Andrew Snook

February 18, 2016 – Comet Biorefining, Inc. is coming to Sarnia, Ont.

The provider of cellulosic dextrose technology for applications in renewable biochemicals and biofuels recently announced that it will construct a commercial-scale, biomass-derived sugar facility in the TransAlta Energy Park in Sarnia. The plant is expected to come online in 2018 and will produce 60 million pounds annually of dextrose sugar from locally-sourced corn stover and wheat straw. Corn stover consists of residues left in the field after harvest including stalks, leaves, husks and cobs. 

“Construction of this first-of-a-kind plant represents a key step towards the large-scale commercialization of our cellulosic sugar business,” said Andrew Richard, CEO of Comet. “It highlights the important role our technology plays in the value chain, helping to drive the bioeconomy and reduce greenhouse gas emissions.” 

Comet converts non-food agricultural and forest residues into high-purity dextrose sugars that will be transformed into bio-based products including organic acids, amino acids and bioplastics. These products replace traditional petroleum-based materials and are designed to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and help contribute to Canada’s efforts on climate change.

The company stated that Comet dextrose is cost- and performance-competitive with commercial dextrose sugars, which is the benchmark raw material for today’s biochemical production. 

Comet’s descision to set up shop in Sarnia stemmed from working together with Bioindustrial Innovation Canada (BIC), the Ontario Federation of Agriculture (OFA) and an Ontario farmers’ cooperative on a project to attract sustainable technology providers to the region and to meet increasing demand from chemical suppliers and consumers for low-carbon products. 

“Comet’s cellulosic sugar technology was one of the clean sustainable technologies recommended, with the best fit for the region and an excellent opportunity to accelerate the growth of the bioeconomy in rural Ontario,” said Dr. Murray McLaughlin, executive director of BIC.

“Establishing new uses for agricultural residues in the bio-based chemical supply chain leads to sustainable farms and new markets,” added Don McCabe, president of OFA. “Both outcomes are primary goals of the OFA, and this project does just that.” 

About Comet Biorefining
Comet Biorefining is a leading provider of sustainable, high-quality, cost-competitive cellulosic dextrose technology for applications in renewable biochemicals and biofuels. Comet Biorefining operates a demonstration scale plant in Rotondella, Italy and is constructing a 60 million pounds per year commercial sugar plant to come online in 2018. The company plans to build, own and operate its own plants and will strategically license its technology to select partners on a worldwide basis to meet the growing demand for bio-based products.

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