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Brian Cofell, General Manager,

Email: brianc@cspcoop.com

Tel: 519.312.0267

Update on Comet Biorefining Sarnia Plant Expected Soon


BioFuel Digest, a U.S.-based news site, has named Sarnia’s Comet Biorefining and Bio-Amber among the 50 “hottest” advanced bioeconomy companies of 2018.


The Florida-based bio-fuels website created the list with votes from an industry panel as well as subscribers.

Comet Biorefining, based at TransAlta’s Blue Water Energy Park, was ranked 46th and Bio-Amber, a Montreal-based company operating a manufacturing plant in Sarnia, was 17th.


“We appreciate being recognized by BioFuels Digest for the advancements we have made,” said Comet CEO Rich Troyer.


The company plans to build a manufacturing plant at the Sarnia energy park that will use corn stalks and wheat straw to make 27 million kilograms (60 million pounds) of dextrose sugar annually, as well as hemicellulose extract for use in animal feed and the resin lignin.


“We have been making progress on our commercial facility in Sarnia and anticipate we’ll announce a formal update soon,” Troyer said.


Comet said previously it planned to open the plant this year and reach full production in 2019.


“Our partners at the Cellulosic Sugar Producers Co-op continue to sign up farmers and we anticipate having the feedstock we need when our facility is up and running,” Troyer said.


The co-op was formed to supply the Comet plant in Sarnia, and it will own a piece of the facility and receive a share of its profits.


The co-op has been organizing field days to show farmers how a portion of corn residue left in their fields at harvest time will be gathered and shipped to the Comet plant in Sarnia.


Co-op president Dave Park said its general manager, Brian Cofell, has been “signing acres up every week.”


Farmers pay a co-op membership fee of $500, along with $200 for each acre committed to the Comet plant.

In return, they will be paid for the crop residue they supply as well as receiving a dividend.


Park said Cofell and the co-op have been well received by farmers in the region.


“Our acreage drive is lining up really well with the needs of the plant in the early production,” he said.


“Things are progressing nicely and we’re pretty comfortable with where we’re at.”


Park said co-op members were also “happy to hear” Comet has been recognized by BioFuels Digest.


“We’re one of the emerging companies in this space, and I look forward to a future with Comet,” he said.


“As farmers, we’ve always got to be moving forward and this is a value-added opportunity that is going to be unique for us in the surrounding area to be able to partake in.”


A proposal for an environmental compliance approval for air emissions at the proposed Sarnia plant has been posted on Ontario’s Environmental Registry, www.ebr.gov.on.ca, where comments from the public are being accepted until March 30.


The application to Ontario’s Ministry of Environment and Climate Change says emissions to the air from the facility will include particulate matter, methylene chloride and nitrogen oxides.


The plant, announced by Comet in 2016, will be the company’s first commercial-scale manufacturing site.


The decision to build in Sarnia came after Bioindustrial Innovation Canada and agriculture groups went looking for opportunities to turn crop residue into sugar. The search led to them to Comet, a company then based at the Western University Research Park in London.


In 2016, a federal grant of just over $10.8 million was announced to help support the Comet project in Sarnia.


BioAmber makes the building-block chemical succinic acid from corn syrup at a plant it opened in Sarnia in 2015.



Source:  http://www.theobserver.ca/2018/03/16/update-on-comet-biorefining-sarnia-plant-expected-soon

By: Paul Morden  -  pmorden@postmedia.com



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