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Comet Biorefining awarded grant for biomass plant

Comet Biorefining, a Canadian cellulosic dextrose technology provider, is getting €7.4m (CA $10.8 million) in federal funding for a new sugar from biomass plant, to be built in Sarnia, Ontario.

The money is part of $206-million in funding for 36 clean energy projects across Canada. It is being provided by Sustainable Development Technology Canada (SDTC) – a provider of funds for innovative technologies.

Comet founder Andrew Richard said the goal is to have the plant online by 2018.

"One of the very critical things for us, and our technology, is this first facility," said Richard.

He added: "As we bridge that pathway to commercialisation, that's where the funding comes into play. They play a critical role, not only just in promoting sustainable technologies, but in advancing them to commercial scale."

Richard said the facility will produce 60-million pounds of dextrose sugar per year from locally-sourced corn stover and wheat straw left in farm fields after harvest.

He said it will eventually be used to produce things like organic and amino acids and bioplastics. As many as 50 jobs are expected to be created.