Biofuels Digest has ranked Sweetwater Energy, Inc., a Rochester NY-based renewable biochemical producer, as the 16th Hottest Small Company in the Advanced Bioeconomy. The list is compiled by a combination of the staff at Biofuels Digest and votes from the industry to take the pulse of the growing bioeconomy.
“It’s an honor to see that the industry knows how pivotal our technology is to the biochemical space,” says Arunas Chesonis, chairman and CEO of Sweetwater. “It’s taken much hard work to solve this puzzle of how to make genuinely valuable biochemicals from common biomass, but now that we’ve done it, we’re very eager to show the world what our process is capable of.”
Sweetwater recently announced it will build its first facility in Mountain Iron, Minnesota. The facility will use Sweetwater’s patented biomass processing technology, which splits Minnesota’s local timber and waste wood into valuable sugar and lignin. The sugar is used to create industrial alcohol—a key ingredient of many products, such as cosmetics and detergents—while the lignin is processed into activated carbon, used to purify municipal drinking water and power plant air emissions.
The facility will ultimately provide more than 100 jobs in the region as it is built out over four years. The site has been selected and construction is planned to begin in spring 2016, with completion and operation anticipated for summer 2017.
Sweetwater is one of the youngest companies on the list, debuting in 2013 at #27 on the Hot 50 Biofuels ranking, and at #22 on the Hot 30 Biochemicals ranking from a total of more than 4,000 eligible companies.