Sweetwater to supply cellulosic sugars to Naturally Scientific

By Chris Hanson | May 01, 2013

Sweetwater Energy Inc. has announced a $250 million deal to supply Naturally Scientific with its customized industrial sugars over a 15-year term.  

Within the deal, Sweetwater will produce sugar from cellulosic material, such as crop residue, energy crops and wood waste to be used in the production of vegetable oils at Naturally Scientific. “This particular contract is for only one type of vegetable oil,” said Arunas Chesonis, CEO of Sweetwater Energy. He added the specific type of oil may be publically announced in spring 2014 after Naturally Scientific’s facility is built and marketing efforts are underway. Naturally Scientific will produce the vegetable oil to be used by biodiesel, ethanol and other biofuel producers.

“It’s very exciting to be an early adopter of Sweetwater’s technology,” says Geoff Dixon, CEO of Naturally Scientific. “We’ll be accepting in excess of 50,000 tons of cellulosic sugar annually, which adds a new, greener dimension to the oils we produce.”

Currently, Naturally Scientific and Sweetwater are evaluating sites in New Jersey, Florida and New York. Chesonis said sites in Florida allow for multiple growing seasons, New Jersey is in close proximity to Naturally Scientific’s chemical customers and New York presents an impressive business park. Chesonis added there are positive and negative attributes to each site.  The project developers hope to break ground this fall.

After the location is selected, Sweetwater plans to erect its cellulosic facilities near the site and deliver the sugars directly to Naturally Scientific. The primary benefits of Sweetwater and Naturally Scientific co-locating the facilities include lower transportation costs, efficient energy and water use and business camaraderie, Chesonis said.  “You get to know each other,” he added, “because your employees are right next to their employees, and you’re actually spending a lot of time with each other.”

Chesonis said he felt the business relationship Naturally Scientific will open future opportunities for Sweetwater to provide its sugars in the production of other oils and expand on the contract.