Just in time for Earth Day last week, Colorado-based ZeaChem announced it had successfully produced commercial-grade ethyl acetate, a commercial grade “green chemical,” from woody biomass instead of oil. The ethyl acetate can either be sold to chemical manufacturers or converted into ethanol through hydrogenation.
“These results demonstrate ZeaChem’s ability to produce another valuable bio-based intermediate chemical on the road toward cellulosic ethanol production,” said Jim Imbler, president and chief executive officer of ZeaChem.
ZeaChem is now testing the downstream applications including hydrogenation, which is the final step in making cellulosic ethanol. The company intends to break ground on a demonstration plant in Boardman, Ore. in the near future, but has already begun construction on the equipment at their pilot plant in Hazen, Colo.