Sweetwater Energy, Inc., a Rochester NY-based renewable biochemical producer, announced today that it has signed a conditional lease with Eastman Business Park to locate a green integrated biochemical facility in the park.
The $53-million facility will use local timber to produce high-value industrial biochemicals and clean-fiber products. The lease is contingent upon the Finger Lakes Regional Economic Development Council, which comprises Monroe and eight surrounding or nearby counties, winning one of three $500 million awards from New York State. The winners will be announced in December.
“The Finger Lakes region and Rochester in particular are home to some of the most outstanding and forward-thinking entrepreneurs in the country,” says Arunas Chesonis, Chairman and CEO of Sweetwater. “We’re very excited to be based here, and we’re very confident the region will win the award. When we do, Sweetwater will be in a perfect position to build an amazing, green biochemical plant in Eastman Business Park that will really help the local economy, jobs, and the environment.”
The facility will use Sweetwater’s patented biomass processing technology, which splits 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.
Among many of the advantages that make the park particularly attractive to Sweetwater is the established infrastructure, including available power, rail and highway transportation, industrial water and wastewater treatment.
The facility will ultimately provide more than 100 jobs in the region as it is built out in two stages. The site has been selected and construction is planned to begin as early as summer 2017, with completion and operation anticipated for early 2018.
Sweetwater announced earlier this month that it will build its first facility in Mountain Iron, Minnesota. The region’s vast sources of timber, its well educated workforce, and the state’s generous financial support were key to persuading Sweetwater to debut its industry-changing technology there in 2017.