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Sweetwater taps colorado firm for design work

By ANDREA DECKERT - 9/28/2012

Sweetwater Energy Inc. has hired a Colorado engineering firm to design its commercial cellulosic sugar-production facilities.

Merrick & Co. Inc., an employee-owned $111 million engineering, architecture, design-build, surveying, planning and geospatial solutions firm, is to be responsible for designing all aspects of the facilities, which Sweetwater will deploy at customer locations around the country.

The first facility is estimated to cost $10 million to $12 million, company leaders said.

Merrick recently celebrated its 16th year of developing and implementing industrial biotechnologies, including the development of its fuel-grade ethanol production facility at the Coors Brewing Co. brewery in Golden, Colo.

Sweetwater is a Rochester-based cellulosic sugar manufacturer led by former Paetec Holding Corp. chairman and CEO Arunas Chesonis. It employs 23 workers.

This year Sweetwater began operating a pilot-scale cellulosic sugar-processing facility at its Lee Road location. Chemists and engineers are using the pilot system in conjunction with Sweetwater’s laboratory to test new ways to optimize the extraction of sugars from a wide variety of plant materials.

Sweetwater plans to build a demonstration-scale facility at the same location later this year, which will allow final vetting of the technology at commercial scale.

The company also announced two hires: Scott Tudman is the company’s senior project engineer and James Hvisdas is vice president of construction.

Tudman has more than 18 years of experience in environmental engineering and project management. Most recently, he served as director of project management for one of the leading greenhouse gas reduction project developers in North America.

Hvisdas was one of the founders of US LEC Corp. and most recently served as Paetec’s executive vice president of operations.

adeckert@rbj.net / 585-546-8303

9/28/12 (c) 2012 Rochester Business Journal. To obtain permission to reprint this article, call 585-546-8303 or email service@rbj.net.