Cellulosic ethanol got a little closer to commercialization with an announcement today from ZeaChem, Inc.
ZeaChem officials report they have produced commercial-grade cellulosic chemicals and ethanol at their 250,000 gallons per year (GPY) biorefinery in Boardman, Ore.
“ZeaChem is developing the first truly-integrated biorefineries for the production of a broad portfolio of economical and sustainable biofuels and bio-based chemicals,” said Jim Imbler, president and chief executive officer of ZeaChem. “The demonstration plant is fully integrated and operating as we ramp up to full capacity. The start of cellulosic production is a significant milestone for ZeaChem as we demonstrate our highly efficient biorefining technology, develop the first commercial biorefinery project, and expand global development opportunities.”
Similar to a petrochemical refinery that makes multiple fuels and chemicals, ZeaChem’s demonstration facility is employing its C2 (two-carbon atom) platform to produce cellulose-based ethanol and intermediate chemicals such as acetic acid and ethyl acetate. Unlike conventional biorefineries, ZeaChem can convert nearly any non-food biomass into fuels and chemicals. This provides ZeaChem with the opportunity to source feedstock locally and inexpensively. The demonstration facility will receive its feedstock from nearby-GreenWood Resources’ tree farms and other local agricultural residue processors.