Sweetwater Energy to convert CO2 to sugars in JV

New York-based renewable sugar producer Sweetwater Energy has formed a 50/50 joint venture with Naturally Scientific to produce sugar from waste carbon dioxide.

The new technology converts carbon dioxide taken directly from the emissions of industries such as ethanol refineries and natural gas power plants into usable sugars.

Sweetwater says the JV will expand its reach beyond biomass-based second generation feedstocks into third generation feedstocks.

'It's exciting to be able to take a greenhouse gas like carbon dioxide that is being vented into the atmosphere, turn it into sugar and ultimately into useful products like biofuels and bioplastics,' says Arunas Chesonis, chairman and CEO of Sweetwater.

Sweetwater currently extracts sugars from many types of plant materials. Those sugars are, in essence, a renewable alternative to petroleum because most products built from petroleum – such as plastics, fuels and many chemicals – can also be built from Sweetwater's sugars.

Adding the ability to create sugar from carbon dioxide means Sweetwater can supply biomass-based sugar to an ethanol refinery, for example, and then also capture the carbon dioxide that is a by-product of the ethanol production to create emission-based sugars, which can be turned into oils, biodiesel or other products.

'We're creating a wraparound solution,' Chesonis adds. 'We're helping customers stabilise their feedstock price volatility, and helping with their emission issues.'

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