ZeaChem has produced commercial-grade cellulosic chemicals
and ethanol at its 250,000 gal/year biorefinery in Boardman, Oregon, the
company said late Tuesday.
Among the first operational cellulosic biorefineries in the
world, this demonstration facility showcases the scalability of
ZeaChems biorefining process and serves as a key
stepping stone toward large-scale commercial production.
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, CEO 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
Similar to a petrochemical refinery that makes multiple fuels
and chemicals, ZeaChems 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, according to the company. The
commercial market potential for all C2 products is $485
Through relatively simple processing adjustments, the
ZeaChem platform technology can create C3 chemicals
(three-carbon structure) including propionic acid, ethyl
propionate, propanol and propylene. Together, ZeaChems C2
and C3 products address a collection of end markets of more $1
Technology and Feedstock
Unlike conventional biorefineries, ZeaChem says it 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
As a supplier of competitively-priced products with
significant environmental benefits, ZeaChem has formed
strategic partnerships with companies that include GreenWood
Resources, Valero and Chrysler.
"Ethanol that is produced from non-food sources at an
efficiency rate that ultimately makes it competitive with oil
makes business sense," said Jim Gillingham, senior vice
president of alternative fuels and project development at