ZeaChem Inc., a developer of biorefineries for the conversion of renewable biomass into sustainable fuels and chemicals, has completed construction and begun operations of the core facility for its new integrated demonstration biorefinery in Boardman, Oregon.
The core facility will produce the intermediate chemicals acetic acid and ethyl acetate, which are high-value products for applications including paints, lacquers and solvents. ZeaChem will sell bio-based chemicals to commercial and industrial customers seeking renewable and cost-competitive alternatives to petroleum-sourced chemicals. The facility will employ 25 full-time operations staff.
ZeaChem is further developing its integrated biorefinery through implementation of a second project to add the capability of using cellulosic biomass on the front end and converting ethyl acetate into ethanol on the back end. This separate “bookends” project is currently underway and supported by a $25 million grant from the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE). Once operational in 2012, it will result in the production of up to 250,000 gallons per year of cellulosic ethanol.
“Beginning operations at the core facility is another indication that ZeaChem continues to successfully execute its strategic roadmap,” said Jim Imbler, president and chief executive officer of ZeaChem. “Our phased development approach minimizes risk by allowing us to produce marketable products as we scale up our biorefining operations. We will continue to build out our biorefinery platform to produce a broad portfolio of sustainable and economical chemicals and fuels derived from cellulosic biomass.”
In addition to this work, ZeaChem, headquartered in Lakewood, Colo., has been named, “This Week’s Colorado Company to Watch,” for the company’s work in growing their business of building bio-refineries that produce advanced biofuels and bio-based chemicals.