According to their press release, ZeaChem is meeting its deployment milestones and moving forward to advanced biofuels and bio-based chemicals production,” said Jim Imbler, president and chief executive officer of ZeaChem. “We have a dedicated energy feedstock supplier, we have raised necessary capital, we have completed the initial design package and are finalizing the detailed engineering and design package. Initiating construction of this front-end fermentation unit operation demonstrates that ZeaChem is accelerating deployment of its unique hybrid biorefining technology.”
The front-end fermentation unit scales up production of the naturally occurring bacteria, called an acetogen, which ZeaChem uses in its fermentation process. Acetogens are highly robust and, unlike yeast, produce no carbon dioxide (CO2) during the fermentation process, allowing ZeaChem to realize a significant efficiency and yield advantage. ZeaChem has successfully produced acetogens at the lab scale for over 1,000 fermentation trials of sugars as well as hydrolyzate derived from cellulosic biomass. The facility will have capacity to produce 250,000 gallons of biofuel per year.