Sweetwater Energy, Inc., a Rochester-based renewable energy company, has this week begun operation of its pilot-scale cellulosic sugar processing facility.
Sweetwater Energy uses a unique technology to produce low-cost sugars from non-food plant materials. These industrial sugars are sold to refineries, which use them to produce biofuels, biochemicals, and bioplastics. Unlike petroleum-based technologies, Sweetwater Energy’s process uses renewable plant materials that are both grown domestically and significantly reduce greenhouse gas emissions.
Dale Brandstetter, Sweetwater’s new Pilot Plant Manager, is currently overseeing the installation and operation of the pilot facility equipment.
“This pilot facility allows us to begin the scale-up process from Sweetwater’s lab to the field,” said Mr. Brandstetter. “In addition to optimizing the extraction processes we’ve already looked into, we’ll be able to start quickly investigating new materials, such as diverse and niche crops, much faster than ever before.”
Sweetwater’s chemists and engineers will use the pilot system in conjunction with Sweetwater’s laboratory to test new ways to quickly optimize the extraction of useful sugars from a wide variety of plant materials. The pilot will also facilitate Sweetwater’s ability to manufacture Sweetwater’s sugars and to distribute those sugars to potential customers more quickly than ever before.
The new pilot facility is housed at Sweetwater’s headquarters at 500 Lee Road, Rochester, NY. Sweetwater is currently constructing a demonstration-scale facility at the same location, which will allow final vetting of the Sweetwater technology at commercial scale. The demonstration-scale facility will be operational by Q4 of 2012.
In the spring of 2011, Sweetwater Energy’s team of scientists, led by one of the world’s most renowned leaders in bio-conversion technology, Dr. Sarad Parekh, Ph.D., devised a way to dramatically increase the efficiency of extracting fermentable sugars from a variety of biomass types. The technology generates separate and concentrated individual streams of C5 and C6 sugars, allowing a single processing site to serve the needs of multiple customers.
Sweetwater Energy utiliza una tecnología única para producir celulosa nanofibrilada de bajo costo, celulosa microcristalina, azúcares y lignina limpia a partir de materiales vegetales no alimentarios para ayudar a satisfacer las crecientes demandas de bioenergía y bioquímica del mundo moderno.
2400 Mt. Read Blvd.
Rochester, NY 14615
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