ZeaChem to Develop “Drop-In” Advanced Biofuels

ZeachemZeaChem, a developer of biorefineries for the conversion of renewable biomass into sustainable fuels and chemicals, will receive a portion of a $40m grant from USDA’s National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA) through the Agriculture and Food Research Initiative (AFRI) Regional Coordinated Agricultural Project (CAP). The USDA project will establish regional systems for the sustainable production of bioenergy and bio-based products.

ZeaChem will secure $12m of the total $40m grant, and will implement the AFRI project at its existing 250,000 gallon-per-year integrated demonstration biorefinery, located at the Port of Morrow, near Boardman, Ore. The company is creating integrated cellulosic biorefineries, capable of producing a broad portfolio of fuel and chemical products from renewable biomass.

ZeaChem’s role in the USDA project is the logical progression of the company’s phased development strategy, in which it researches and develops potential products at each step toward commercialization. Design of the AFRI project is underway and the equipment modules are expected to be installed in 2013.

“ZeaChem is pleased with the USDA’s support to establish a bioenergy economy in the Pacific Northwest,” said Jim Imbler, president and chief executive officer of ZeaChem. “The grant allows ZeaChem to use our existing integrated demonstration facility to develop advanced biofuels beyond cellulosic ethanol, including bio-based jet, diesel and gasoline. The project highlights one of our unique strengths, which is that we can utilize a variety of biomass feedstocks and proven processes to develop a wide range of economical and sustainable fuel and chemical products.”

Production of bio-based jet and diesel is expected to begin in 2013 and production of bio-based gasoline, part of the C3 product platform, will follow in 2015.

The USDA AFRI Regional CAP is led by the University of Washington and includes GreenWood Resources, Oregon State University, Washington State University, the University of California, Davis, University of Idaho, and the Agricultural Center for Excellence.

advanced biofuels, bioenergy, Cellulosic