Sweetwater Energy, Inc., a Rochester NY-based renewable biochemical producer, announced today it has closed on a $10 million bridge loan. The loan closed as Sweetwater readies to open its Series B investor round later this quarter to begin construction of its first commercial facility.
“We’re very pleased to have closed this loan, which secures Sweetwater’s operations as we begin building our full-scale commercial biomass-to-biochemical conversion facility,” says Arunas Chesonis, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of Sweetwater Energy. “We have the best pretreatment technology in the industry right now, and we’re very excited to now ramp it up and become a player in the biochemical space.”
Sweetwater Energy uses a unique technology to convert low-cost plant materials to a variety of high-value biochemicals. Waste wood, agricultural residues, and purpose-grown crops such as switchgrass have been economically treated in Sweetwater’s demonstration plant in Rochester, NY. The valuable sugar locked inside these plants is extracted and converted into dozens of biochemicals, many of which have traditionally required much more expensive methods to manufacture.
The company is currently in talks to finalize the location of the first biochemical facility, which is expected to generate significant local economic impact. Up to 300 jobs are expected to be produced, including agricultural, logistical, manufacturing, and operations positions to support the facility.
Sweetwater closed its $16 million Series A round in 2013, which allowed the company to develop a demonstration-scale plant at its Lee Road location to validate and optimize the technology. That funding, along with grants from the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority, allowed Sweetwater to develop its novel technology.