Ontario's Bio Advantage Sector Profile

Spotlight on Biochemicals

Biochemicals are bulk/basic and specialty/fine chemicals produced from renewable bio-based feedstocks, including:

  • industrial chemicals - cleaners, lubricants, sealants, solvents
  • intermediate biochemicals - ethylene, succinic acid
  • chemical inputs/feedstocks for production of other products - oils, sugars, phenols, resins
  • biopharmaceuticals - vaccines from genetically engineered plants

Ontario's Biochemical Advantage

Access to major markets

  • Located less than a day's drive of the largest markets in North America
  • Well established distribution channels/transportation networks.
  • Extensive manufacturing capacity
  • Large manufacturing base with advanced expertise to transition to biobased inputs
  • Ontario is home to more than 1,200 chemical manufacturing establishments - seven of the top 10 global chemical companies have a presence in Ontario
  • Chemical manufacturing is the fourth-largest industry among manufacturing sectors in Ontario based on sales of $21.9 billion annually.

Highly skilled workforce

  • Highly skilled manufacturing, chemical and agricultural workforce
  • Chemical manufacturing is the fifth-largest employer among manufacturing sectors in Ontario with more than 42,000 employees.
  • Extensive research capacity
  • Extensive research and development (R&D) capacity with 20 universities and 24 colleges.
  • Commercialization support
  • Network of innovation and commercialization support through established organizations and funding.
  • Well established value chain
  • Extensive value chain exists for products manufactured in bulk/basic chemicals and resins, specialty chemicals, and fine chemicals and pharmaceuticals
  • Well established distribution channels/transportation networks.
  • Availability of biobased feedstock from agriculture and forest based products and byproducts
  • Growing bioproduct manufacturing.

Ontario's Biochemical Infrastructure

The following are some examples of initiatives in Ontario's biochemical sector.

Institute for Chemicals and Fuels from Alternative Resources (ICFAR), University of Western Ontario

www.icfar.ca

  • Conducts fundamental and applied research and development in the production of renewable fuels and chemicals, heavy oil conversion and sustainable technologies
  • Research from lab to large pilot plant/demonstration pyrolysis technology, which can convert a broad range of biomass materials to bio-oil which then can be made into insecticides, pesticides, pharmaceuticals or engine fuels, and solid bio-char as an effective soil amendment and for use in liquid filtration systems.

Bio-Industrial Innovation Center (BIC), Sarnia

www.biccanada.ca

  • Helping Canada become a globally recognized leader in turning renewable, sustainable feedstock (agricultural and forestry byproducts and wastes) into energy and value-added chemicals for use in applications ranging from construction to automotive parts
  • Creating North America's first biotechnology laboratories and shared pilot plant facilities for gasification, pyrolysis, fermentation and bioconversion - key technologies to convert agricultural and forestry by-products into fuels, chemicals, products and materials
  • BIC manages the Ontario Sustainable Chemistry Alliance Fund (www.suschemalliance.ca)
  • Serves the emerging new industry in Canada, bridging the gap between biochemistry and synthetic chemistry and offers funding for high potential emerging innovations and breakthroughs in the biochemicals area.

Agri-Technology Commercialization Centre (ATCC)

agritechcentre.ca
  • Supports development and commercialization of bioproducts through organizations that work with producers, researchers and agricultural entrepreneurs
  • Includes BioEnterprise, Ontario Agri-Food Technologies and Soy 20/20 - groups that support companies at various stages along the innovation chain.

Bio-Refining Research Initiative at Lakehead University, Thunder Bay

lubri.lakeheadu.ca

  • Research focus on biorefi ning, developing new technologies for bioconversion, chemical conversion and forest microbiota - of forest biomass; creating chemical alternatives.

Biochemical Industry Success

The following are examples of Ontario companies using biobased products in their manufacturing process and/or preparing biobased materials.

  • Bioamber - has a proprietary technology platform to convert renewable feedstocks into biochemicals that are a cost-competitive replacement for petroleum derived chemicals.
  • Bioamber will use sugar from corn to produce bio-succinic acid, a building-block chemical used in plastics, resins, de­icers, pharmaceuticals, food additives, cosmetics and other products. BioAmber Inc. has initiated commissioning activities for its 30,000 MT capacity bio-succinic acid plant located in Sarnia, Ontario, Canada.
  • EcoSynthetix - applies green chemistry to transform renewable resources into high-performance biobased products. EcoSphere® is a biopolymer derived from the fundamental re-engineering of renewable resources ("new" carbon) into biopolymer nanoparticles.
  • Lorama Inc. - specializes in coatings derived from corn starch. The company has successfully developed polysaccharide resin technologies from renewable agricultural materials into a wide range of paint, ink and coatings formulations in six continents and more than 80 countries.
  • Plantform Corporation - uses novel, plant-based technology to produce therapeutic antibody drugs at very low cost. The Guelph-based company's first product will be a biosimilar (generic) version of the breast cancer drug Herceptin.
  • Ingredion - is a principal producer and supplier of corn refined products, high-quality food ingredients and industrial additives.

More about Ontario's Bio Advantage:

Agricultural Information Contact Centre:
1-877-424-1300
ag.info.omafra@ontario.ca



Author: OMAFRA Staff
Creation Date: 9 August 2011
Last Reviewed: 15 March 2016