Sweetwater, Front Range Energy sign $100m cellulosic ethanol production agreement
US-based cellulosic sugar producer Sweetwater Energy has entered into a 15-year commercial agreement with Front Range Energy to produce cellulosic ethanol at Front Range’s current corn-ethanol facility.
The agreement has a potential commercial value of $100m and requires minimal capital expenditure from Front Range.
Commenting on the development Front Range Energy vice president Dan Sanders Jr. remarked that the usage of sugar will help the company overcome some of the volatility of the corn market and secure a higher percentage cellulosic production.
"It's very exciting to be an early adopter of Sweetwater's technology and to bridge that gap from grain to cellulosic ethanol.
"We've had great success fermenting Sweetwater's sugar, and from a business standpoint, we have great confidence in Sweetwater's management team," added Sanders.
Sweetwater will employ its decentralized process to convert locally available cellulosic, non-food biomass such as crop residues, energy crops, and woody biomass into highly fermentable sugar, to be further fermented into ethanol by Front Range.
The company will establish a cellulosic facility near the Front Range site and will deliver refined monomeric sugar for Front Range to produce 3.6 million gallons of ethanol per annum.