ZeaChem biorefinery to begin production of cellulosic ethanol by the end of 2012
Biorefinery developer ZeaChem Inc. (Lakewood, Colo.; www.zeachem.com) today announced that it has completed construction of its 250,000 gal/yr cellulosic ethanol biorefinery in Boardman, Oregon. The project was completed on budget and is expected to begin production of cellulosic ethanol by the end of 2012.
ZeaChem’s core process, completed earlier this year, enables the production of acetic acid and ethyl acetate, which are intermediate chemicals for applications including paints, lacquers and consumer goods representing a $10 billion market worldwide. The core process has been commissioned and fermentation of sugar feedstocks has been replicated in 40,000 gal tanks. These results met and exceeded design targets.
The next step in ZeaChem’s phased development and start-up approach is to begin operations of the integrated facility for cellulosic ethanol production. With the support of a $25 million investment from the U.S. Department of Energy’s (Washington, D.C.; www.energy.gov) Integrated Biorefinery program, ZeaChem has added process components to the core facility enabling the utilization of locally-sourced biomass, including wood and wheat straw, to be fermented and converted into intermediate chemicals and ethanol.