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Bio-based Chemicals Comet Biorefining To Build Biomass Sugar Plant in Canada

| Editor: Dr. Jörg Kempf

Comet Biorefining has announced the location of its commercial-scale biomass-derived sugar facility in the Transalta Energy Park in Sarnia, Ontario. The 60 million pounds per year plant will come online in 2018 producing dextrose sugar from locally-sourced corn stover and wheat straw.

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Corn stover consists of residues left in the field after harvest including stalks, leaves, husks and cobs.
Corn stover consists of residues left in the field after harvest including stalks, leaves, husks and cobs.
(Picture: Robert G.; CCO ; http://pixabay.com/de/getreide-weizen-landwirtschaft-228726/; http://creativecommons.org/publicdomain/zero/1.0/ )

London/UK, Ontario/Canada – Using its proprietary patented process, 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 low-carbon bio-based products replace traditional petroleum-based materials, reduce greenhouse gas emissions and help contribute to Canada’s efforts on climate change. Comet dextrose is cost- and performance-competitive with commercial dextrose sugars, the benchmark raw material for today’s biochemical production.

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Comet’s Cellulosic Sugar Technology

Comet Biorefining has developed a novel process to convert non-food cellulosic biomass into high quality cost-competitive cellulosic glucose. This enabling and ground breaking technology allows biofuels and bioproducts manufacturers to have a reliable and consistent source of cellulose-based glucose that can be directly converted to value-added end products. Comet cellulosic sugar is produced as a high purity syrup.

The Comet cellulosic sugar process uses a unique, two stage process to activate cellulosic biomass, followed by conversion to glucose at very low enzyme loading. Co-products are used for energy production or other applications.

Advantages of the Comet cellulosic sugar process include:

  • Low cost process — the two stage activation process replaces traditional pretreatment at significantly reduced enzyme loading
  • Low capital cost — the process is modular and relies on simple, off the shelf process equipment.
  • Low cost sugar — Modular design and low cost processing allows for smaller plants to be located close the biomass source, resulting in reduced biomass transportation cost
  • Low scale up risk — Smaller, modular plants reduce scale up factors and risk

Comet chose to locate in Sarnia by 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.

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

“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”, noted Dr. Murray McLaughlin, Executive Director, BIC.

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

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