Author: Melanie Irwin, Blackburn News
A research and development partnership, with a Sarnia connection, is gaining momentum.
The NaturALL Bottle Alliance was formed in 2017 by Danone, Nestle Waters, and bio-based materials development company Origin Materials.
Sacramento-based Origin is building a demonstration plant in Sarnia that’ll produce bio-based chemicals used in plastics, from cardboard and sawdust.
Bioindustrial Innovation Canada (BIC) Executive Director Sandy Marshall said the alliance, geared to the development of packaging made with 100 per cent sustainable and renewable resources, is welcoming Pepsi as a partner.
“The work that we have going with Origin Materials, who is partnering with Danone Nestle, Ford and now Pepsi, to get large brand owners pulling their products through into applications like bottles and packaging on the market pull side is really, really exciting,” said Marshall.
He said Sarnia-Lambton is developing really strong supply chains based on agriculture.
“The work that Comet [Biorefining] is doing together with the cellulosic sugar producers cooperative, taking corn stover and wheat straw and turning it into feedstocks that can be used in the bio-economy is [also] an excellent start,” he said.
Marshall said while many are following in the path of those two companies, the bioeconomy is not an easy sector.
“Early stage companies are challenged all the time and you’ve got to keep plowing forward and look at the successes we have. Yes, there are setbacks along the way, but when people say, ‘you guys are on the right track, let’s keep going,’ it just reinvigorates us,” he said.
Just last month, BioAmber announced plans to liquidate and a British Columbia based company, S2G BioChem, decided to build its $20 million plant in Quebec.
“S2G was originally going to come to Sarnia and we were working with them closely at BIC to help them raise the funds to do that,” said Marshall. “Unfortunately, they weren’t able to raise their funding and they are now partnering with a group out of Quebec, with Fortress, and I wish them all the success.”
He said he’s hopeful some of S2G’s products will come back to Sarnia and support ventures that are looking at Sarnia Lambton.
“The word we use all the time is collaboration. Sarnia-Lambton has a long history of collaboration, going back to the Petro-Chemical industry. We’re seeing it now in the bio-economy. But the collaboration isn’t just a Sarnia-Lambton thing, it’s a Canadian cultural thing and I think that’s one of the greatest advantages we have here in Canada, is our strong willingness and history to collaborate,” said Marshall.
Marshall made the comments at the inaugural Canadian BioDesign Conference in Sarnia Wednesday.
Over 200 delegates attended the event hosted by BIC and Lambton College.