ZeaChem Confirms Ethanol Biorefining Process
(ZeaChem) Company to Demonstrate Integration of Processes at Boardman Biorefinery
ZeaChem Inc., a developer of biorefineries for the conversion of renewable biomass into sustainable fuels and chemicals, today announced the successful production of ethanol at a capacity that can be scaled to commercial production. ZeaChem’s results have been confirmed by third party vendors who will enable production of ZeaChem biofuels and bio-based chemicals. The company will now demonstrate the integration of its biorefining processes at its 250,000 gallon per year Boardman, Oregon biorefinery.
Using off-the-shelf catalysts and standard equipment in an innovative way, ZeaChem produced ethanol from ethyl acetate through a process called hydrogenation -a common industrial practice that is readily scaled to commercial levels.
“Through the successful production of ethanol, we’ve completed ZeaChem’s C2 carbon chain suite of products, which includes acetic acid, ethyl acetate, and ethanol,” said Jim Imbler, president and CEO of ZeaChem. “The next step is to integrate these known processes to achieve the ultimate target of commercial production of economical and sustainable biofuels and bio-based chemicals.”
Ethanol is primarily used as a fuel additive blended with gasoline. The annual market for ethanol is $26.2 billion globally and $13.6 billion in the U.S.
Having completed testing of its C2 carbon chain suite of products, ZeaChem has begun fermentation work on a new suite of products – the C3 platform – using the same processes and equipment. The product platform includes propionic acid, propanol and propylene.
On June 2, 2010, the company broke ground on its 250,000 gallon-per-year biorefinery in Boardman, Oregon, the core technology of which will begin to come online in 2010. The integrated facility is being partially funded by a $25 million grant from the US Department of Energy (DOE) through the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009. The company will use the grant to build the chemical fractionation on the front end and the hydrogenation process on the back end for making cellulosic ethanol. The facility will begin to produce cellulosic ethanol in 2011. ZeaChem intends to build commercial biorefineries upon successful operations at the Boardman facility. READ MORE