company_name = SunOpta, Inc.
company_type = Public
company_slogan = a healthy products company
foundation = 1973 as Stake Technology, changed name to SunOpta in 2003
location = Brampton, Canada
industry = Organic food, Mineral, Bioethanol
homepage = []

SunOpta, Inc. (nasdaq|STKL, TSX|SOY) is a public corporation located in Canada and founded in 1973. Its operations are divided between SunOpta Food (organics), Opta Minerals, and SunOpta BioProcess (bioethanol). SunOpta's fastest growing business segment is the BioProcess Group, which is a leading developer of technology in the cellulosic ethanol market.

SunOpta's BioProcess Group specializes in the design, construction and optimization of biomass conversion equipment and facilities. They have over 30 years experience delivering biomass solutions worldwide and use innovative technologies to produce cellulosic ethanol, cellulosic butanol, xylitol and dietary fiber for human consumption. Raw materials include wheat straw, corn stover, grasses, oat hulls and wood chips. [ [ SunOpta Bioprocess Group] ]

Their proprietary technology is the only continuous, industrially proven process in the world that can pretreat biomass at the temperatures and pressures required for subsequent enzymatic hydrolysis for the production of fermentable sugars and is used in the only continuous operation cellulosic ethanol pilot demonstration plant in the world, which is run by China Resources Alcohol Corporation (CRAC). Based on SunOpta's patented and proprietary biomass conversion technology, and used for research and development on cellulosic ethanol, production is at China Resources' facility in ZhaoDong City, Heilongjiang Province, China. In addition, the company is involved in an ethanol pilot facility in Nebraska funded by the U.S. Department of Energy.

As SunOpta's BioProcess Group continues it's cellulosic ethanol expansion, it is supplying the biomass pretreatment process system for Abengoa’s wheat straw to ethanol plant in Babilafuente(Salamanca), Spain. This facility will be the first commercial cellulosic ethanol production plant in the world. [ [ Cellulosic Ethanol for Road Fuel] ]

On December 21, 2006, SunOpta Inc. announced a Joint Venture with GreenField Ethanol, Canada's largest ethanol producer. The joint venture will build a series of large-scale plants that will make ethanol from wood chips, with SunOpta Inc. and GreenField each taking 50% ownership. The first of these plants will be 10 million gallons per year, which appears to be the first true "commercial scale" cellulosic ethanol plant in the world. Under 1 million gallons per year (MMgy) is considered "Pilot Scale", greater than 1 MMgy but less than 10 MMgy is defined as "commercial demonstration", while a plant that produces 10 MMgy per year or greater is true "commercial scale". Despite the multiple commercial demonstration cellulosic ethanol plants SunOpta has been involved with, media reports continue to state that cellulosic ethanol is an unproven, "experimental" technology. The 10 MMgy SunOpta/GreenField cellulosic ethanol plant is intended to demonstrate that large-scale cellulosic ethanol is commercially viable immediately.

Because the demand for alternative 'green' fuel solutions has never been higher, [ [ SunOpta Bioprocess Group] ] SunOpta are leveraging their biomass conversion expertise with proprietary technologies to participate in the construction, ownership, and operation of cellulosic ethanol facilities across North America, Europe and Asia. It faces multiple class-action lawsuits.

ee also

*Cellulosic ethanol
*Cellulosic ethanol commercialization
* [ SunOpta bioprocess timeline]


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