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Sweetwater Energy Inc. has formed a partnership with a Danish biotechnology company.
The Henrietta-based cellulosic sugar manufacturer announced a strategic partnership this week with BioGasol ApS.
Under the agreement, Sweetwater will use BioGasol's pretreatment technology-called Carbofrac-as part of its overall method to maximize the amount of sugar that can be extracted from plant-based feedstocks.
Arunas Chesonis, Sweetwater chairman and CEO, said leaders from his firm had initial contact with BioGasol executives last year during a conference in Copenhagen. They were impressed with the firm's technology and the way it can merge with Sweetwater's technology, as well as potential cost savings associated with the partnership.
"Their technology is significantly better than other (companies) we were talking to," he said.
The partnership also should provide additional international opportunities for Sweetwater, Chesonis said, noting that BioGasol has done business in Europe, Asia and South America.
Under the partnership, some manufacturing initially will be done in Europe, but the goal is to bring all manufacturing for Sweetwater's North American customers here by 2015, Chesonis said.
Anders Weber, BioGasol's CEO, said the two firms have similar philosophies for making cellulosic biofuels and biochemicals work.
BioGasol employs 30 people and was founded in January 2006 as a spinout from the Technical University of Denmark.
Sweetwater Energy uses technology to produce low-cost sugars from non-food plant materials. The company's sugar solution is sold to refineries, which use it to produce biofuels, biochemicals and bioplastics.
Unlike petroleum-based technologies, Sweetwater Energy's process uses renewable plant materials that are grown domestically and reduce greenhouse gas emissions, company leaders said.
The company recently moved into a 15,000-square-foot space on Lee Road that will house its headquarters and industrial space for Sweetwater's laboratory and for its pilot and demonstration facilities.
Chesonis, co-founder and former CEO of Paetec Holding Corp., took a leadership role at Sweetwater last year. Jack Baron, another Paetec co-founder, is Sweetwater's president and chief operating officer. Most recently, Keith Wilson, Paetec's former chief financial officer, became Sweetwater's CFO.
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