From The Observer, www.theobserver.ca
A Canadian bio-tech company has announced its opening a 50,000 square foot research and development facility at TransAlta’s
Bluewater Energy Park in Sarnia.
Solutions4CO2 Inc. is working to capture and use waste carbon dioxide from industry to grow microalgae for use in the making
of pharmaceutical drugs, biofuels and other products.
The research and development facility is expected to initially employ between six and 10 people, said CEO Doug Kemp-Welch
There are also plans to make Sarnia the company’s global headquarters, he said.
“All of our international research and development will be located there,” he said, adding several of the company’s joint
venture partners are also expected to be located at the Sarnia site.
“We’ve looked very, very diligently around North America for an ideal site, and Sarnia came out on top of the list,”
The senior Solutions4CO2 official in Sarnia will be Doug Legge, the company’s vice-president of global operations.
He previously worked for Laidlaw Environmental Services, later Safety-Kleen, in Lambton and most recently was a
vice-president for a Salt Lake City based biomass gasification technology company.
“The Bluewater Energy Park is an ideal site, for not only this R and D facility, but for the first commercial facility we’re
looking to site,” Kemp-Welch said.
That future plant could employ as many as 50 people in 250,000 to 300,000 square feet of space, Kemp-Welch said.
“Optimistically, we hope to have it started in at least about 12 months.”
The Sustainable Chemistry Alliance, based at the University of Western Ontario Research Park, invested in Solutions4CO2 and
it was announced in the fall the company was planning a demonstration facility in Sarnia.
“We’re very excited about moving in and getting it up and running,” Kemp-Welch said, “and becoming an ever increasing part of
the local Sarnia economic scene.”
Peter Smith, TransAlta’s director of commercial management for Eastern Canada, said Solutions4CO2 is leasing part of a former
Dow Chemical building located on the St. Clair River.
“It’s a combination of offices and laboratories,” Smith said.
Kemp-Welch said TransAlta has been very supportive and also operates a co-generation facility in Sarnia “that produces the
feed stock we need for our process.”
He said Solutions4CO2 has taken possession of the space in the building at the energy park and is preparing to move in.
“You’ll start to see labs commissioned and some of the other R and D equipment starting to arrive on site this month,”
Solutions4CO2 also announced this week it’s entering a joint venture with BARD Holdings, Inc., a U.S. based commercial-scale
algae production company.
The joint venture combines Solutions4CO2’s gas capture and infusion system with BARD’s algae cultivation and processing
system, according to Surajit Khanna, chairperson and CEO of Bard Holding, Inc.
“The area around Sarnia,” Khanna said in a press release, “also known as Chemical Valley, with its varied sources of CO2
emissions is an ideal location to base this world class research and development facility.”
Smith said the joint venture is the first tenant in TransAlta’s Bluewater Energy Park.
“It’s a bit of a breakthrough for us, getting that first one in,” he said. “Obviously, we’re hoping this is going to lead to
attracting some additional business in there.”
TransAlta acquired the 170-acre site from Dow Chemical after that company shut down its Sarnia operations.
Solutions4CO2 is a good fit with local initiatives to attract green and renewable industries, Smith said.
That has been one of the priorities of the Sarnia-Lambton Economic Partnership and other groups based at the University of
Western Ontario Research Park on Modeland Road.
“We’re getting closer to the end result,” said Murray McLaughlin, president of the Sustainable Chemistry Alliance, a group
working to develop Canada’s bio-industry.
“We’re waiting for that shovel to get in the ground at Bio-Amber in April, as well.”
Montreal-based Bio-Amber Inc., is building an $80-million first-of-it’s-kind plant on part of the existing Lanxess site in
Sarnia. It will make biosuccinic acid from corn for use in plastics, cosmetics, pharmaceuticals and other products.