Futurity Group, a New Zealand company with the mission to make use of New Zealand’s vast forests to generate high-value products, has contracted with Sweetwater to process its pine feedstock and generate samples from the Sunburst™ demonstration system in Rochester, NY. Futurity has reviewed pretreatment technologies across the globe and has concluded that Sunburst is the only technology that can make that mission a reality.
Futurity’s planned biorefinery will advance New Zealand’s economic stability by diversifying the use of its forests, thereby reducing the industry’s reliance on raw log exports, and adding significant value before the products are shipped offshore or integrated into products with other New Zealand companies.
“We applaud Futurity’s approach for using forestry resources, at scale, and sustainably,” says Arunas Chesonis, Chairman and CEO of Sweetwater. “Sweetwater’s patented Sunburst pretreatment system that begins the biomass deconstruction process of softwoods, hardwoods, and a host of other biomass types into higher-value cellulose such as nano-fibrillated cellulose, clean, non-sulfonated lignin, and cellulosic sugars are the building blocks to realize Futurity’s vision. Futurity’s use of Sunburst will accelerate the sunsetting of our reliance on oil.”
Two executives of Futurity, CEO Jacob Kohn and CTO Gaetano Dedual, visited Sweetwater in September to tour the demonstration plant and discuss partnership opportunities. Like most visitors who witness Sunburst™ in action, they were astonished at how quickly and cleanly the feedstock was deconstructed and were even more convinced that Sunburst™ will fit well into their commercial plans. They understood that the Sunburst™ platform can scale easily and are especially interested in the disruptive possibilities of Sweetwater’s nano-fibrillated cellulose, which Sweetwater can make for a much lower cost and energy input than traditional methods.
Sunburst™ already had industry-leading results on softwood processing, but the collaboration with Futurity and its pre-conditioning process has achieved greater success on the processing of softwoods than ever before. Early tests have been so promising that both companies anticipate expanding their cooperative testing regimen in Q2 2020.