A renewable chemistry company, BioAmber Inc. uses agricultural crops and transforms them into green chemicals that directly substitute for chemicals derived from fossil fuels.
BioAmber focuses on the development and commercialization of biobased succinic acid and derivatives. Succinic acid is a chemical building block that can be used to produce a wide range of products, from PBS (polybutylsuccinate), an innovative biodegradable plastic, to more traditional polymers such as polyesters, polyurethanes and nylons that are used to make textiles, automotive parts and electronics, among others.
Succinic acid is used as a flavoring agent for food and beverages, as an intermediate for various industrial chemicals such as dyes, perfumes, lacquers, photographic chemicals and alkyd resins, and as plasticizers. It is also used in metal treatment chemicals, vehicle water cooling systems and coatings.
In 2011, BioAmber subsidiary Bluewater Biochemicals selected Sarnia, Ontario as the location for its first North American biosuccinic acid plant. The Sarnia plant will have an initial capacity of 17,000 tonnes and will be commissioned in 2013. BioAmber also plans to produce 1,4‐Butanediol (BDO) on the site, using technology exclusively licensed from DuPont that converts succinic acid to BDO, a chemical with a $4 billion existing market. The goal is for the Sarnia plant to produce 35,000 tonnes of biosuccinic acid and 23,000 tonnes of biobased BDO at its peak.
The company has partnerships with Cargill, DuPont Applied Biosciences, Mitsui & Co. and Mitsubishi Chemical. It has offices and research labs in Minneapolis, MN, an office in Montreal, a sales office in Shanghai, China and a biosuccinic acid production plant in Pomacle, France with a 3,000 tonne capacity.