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Canada's largest chemical manufacturing sector
Ontario has the right environment for robotics companies to flourish
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Ontario boasts Canada's largest chemical manufacturing sector – one that is evolving into a global leader in bio-hybrid chemicals. We're home to:
With 40% of the country's total production, Ontario is at the centre of Canada's chemical manufacturing industry. Most of the activity takes place in three key regions: Sarnia-Lambton, Greater Toronto Area (GTA)/Niagara and Eastern Ontario.
Ontario's chemical sector encompasses the entire value chain – from industrial chemicals to synthetic resins, and from fertilizers and formulated products to petroleum refining. Our industrial biotechnology value chain comprises agricultural and forestry biomass supply, grain corn and soybean mills, midstream biorefineries and biofuel processors as well as downstream biomaterials manufacturers.
At the heart of a burgeoning biochemical sector, Ontario is home to the world's largest bio-succinic acid production plant. A joint venture between BioAmber Inc. and Japan-based multinational Mitsui & Co., and located in Sarnia, this 30,000-tonne-per-year facility utilizes sugars from Ontario corn as its feedstock. In addition, Comet Biorefining announced it will build a 60,000-pound-per-year cellulosic sugar refinery that uses locally sourced agricultural and forestry residues. Also in Sarnia, this will be the first plant of its kind.
On the petrochemical front, Ontario offers direct access to heavy and light crudes, natural gas and natural gas liquids (including ethane) all from North American regions as well as from new, unconventional shale gas sources, such as the Marcellus and Utica basins. NOVA Chemicals, the first company in the world to access Marcellus basin shale gas liquids as feedstock, has converted its Ontario ethylene cracker to handle up to 100% natural gas liquids.
Ontario is also home to the Union Gas Dawn Facility, the third-largest natural gas trading hub in North America and the largest underground natural gas storage facility in Canada. The Dawn Hub has:
Feedstocks are renewable, biological materials that can be used directly as fuel, or converted to another form of fuel or energy product. Biomass feedstocks are plant, wood and algal materials used to create biomaterials as well as fuels such as ethanol, butanol, biodiesel and other green hydrocarbon fuels.
Ontario's large agricultural and forestry sector provides an abundant and diverse supply of biomass feedstock supply for use in biobased chemicals, fuels and materials production. Our agricultural zones offer large volumes of soybeans, grain corn, winter wheat and wood supply.
The province supplies over 14 million cubic metres of harvested wood. And, Southern Ontario produces approximately 60% of Canada's corn and soybean supply:
Ontario's chemical industry manufactures products covering the entire value-chain – from polymers to alternative fuels, fertilizers to gases and adhesives, and even the components for high-tech fabrics and other goods.
The Sarnia-Lambton region has the nation's most concentrated and integrated chemicals cluster comprised of chemical and biochemical production plants as well as petroleum refiners. The region's strengths include:
Ontario is recognized globally for outstanding research and academic institutes in the field of industrial biotechnology. We have specialized centres that offer resources such as commercialization, advisory support and R&D matchmaking. A number of commercialization accelerators are available for biochemical innovations. These include Bioindustrial Innovation Canada in Sarnia, the Bioproducts Discovery and Development Centre (BDDC) in Guelph, the Centre for Research and Innovation in the Bio-Economy (CRIBE) in Thunder Bay, GreenCentre Canada in Kingston and MaRS Discovery District in Toronto.
World-renowned Ontario universities are supporting industrial biotechnology research.
Throughout the province, 27 universities and colleges award degrees and diplomas in Chemical Engineering, Applied Chemistry and Chemical Process and Production to train the next generation of industry leaders.
Over 35% of Canada's skilled trade workers reside in Ontario, with the chemical sector employing more than 26,000. In the Sarnia-Lambton region alone, more than 5,000 skilled trades specialize in the construction and servicing of refineries and chemical plants.
A cross-section of Ontario's skilled trades:
The numbers tell the story: $16.2 billion in total shipments in 2015
NOVA Chemicals Corporation
NOVA Chemicals is a leading multinational producer of plastics and chemicals. Recently, the company invested approximately $250 million to convert its Corunna, Ontario ethylene cracker to handle up to 100% natural gas liquids — and became the first company to use ethane derived from the Marcellus shale deposit. NOVA Chemicals also announced a further $300 million in investments to increase production and source additional Marcellus and Utica shale gas-based feedstock supply for its Ontario facilities.
This is a critical component to our NOVA 2020 growth strategy of capitalizing on new feedstock sources to meet our current needs and expanding customer demands.
– Randy Woelfel, NOVA Chemicals CEO
New York Stock Exchange-listed BioAmber, a global leader in the manufacture of platform chemical bio-succinic acid, selected Sarnia over 100 other sites to build the world’s largest bio-succinic acid plant. The plant has an initial capacity of 30,000 tonnes per year.
In Ontario, BioAmber found a location that offered access to major markets, a skilled workforce, competitive energy costs, a reliable supply of affordable, readily available raw materials – and a government committed to supporting the development and commercialization of new, green technologies.
Other companies are now showing an interest in coming to Sarnia, and we are looking at additional plants in the future that could be located in the area.
– Jean-François Huc, BioAmber CEO
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All figures are in Canadian dollars unless otherwise noted. Information is accurate at the time of publication.