Sarnia-based BioAmber has partnered with Genome, and the University of Toronto to develop a more environmentally-friendly nylon.
Genome Canada, along with the Ontario Government, and other partners, are investing $5.7-million into the applied research project.
Nylon is currently made from petroleum, and there's strong demand for an alternative using sugar-based chemicals like the ones BioAmber produce.
University of Toronto Researcher Dr. Krishna Mahadevan says BioAmber is a perfect fit.
"What we're trying to focus on with this grant is adipic acid," says Dr. Mahadevan. "Of course, since BioAmber has the know-how to try to make this and scale it up to 30,000 tonnes and do these operations, they're a perfect partner with us in Toronto."
Dr. Mahadevan says adipic acid alone has a market of 2.2 million tonnes, and chemicals that can be derived from it have similarly large markets. As an industrial biotechnology company, BioAmber is positioned to apply the results from this research program to the development of next generation chemicals.
The results of its work will benefit Canada’s economy by growing the bio-refining industry and creating new manufacturing jobs, while protecting the environment through reduced greenhouse gas emissions and pollution.
Dr. Mahadevan says it's a three-year grant. He says if it's successful, BioAmber could build a brand new plant to meet the demand.