ZeaChem Inc. announced today that it has signed a long-term binding term sheet with GreenWood Tree Farm Fund (GTFF), managed by GreenWood Resources (GWR), to supply hybrid poplar woody biomass for its first commercial cellulosic biorefinery. The combination of GTFF’s existing tree farms in close proximity to the biorefinery, GWR’s world leadership in development and management of tree plantations, and ZeaChem’s highly efficient biorefinery technology will enable the supply of low-cost fermentable sugars used in the production of advanced biofuels and bio-based chemicals for years to come. ZeaChem will integrate feedstock from a portion of GTFF’s residual fiber with local agricultural residue suppliers to achieve feedstock costs 50% less compared to Brazilian sugar cane and 80% less compared to corn based processes. Through this combination of forest and agricultural residuals, ZeaChem has secured 100% of the feedstock supply for the first commercial biorefinery.
Under the agreement, GTFF will be the primary feedstock supplier for ZeaChem’s first commercial biorefinery. GTFF will supply cellulosic biomass from its existing poplar plantations to the biorefinery, offering new markets for its wood products. ZeaChem’s first commercial biorefinery is expected to have capacity of 25M gallons per year (GPY) and to be located in Boardman, Oregon.
“This landmark feedstock agreement represents a major milestone on the road to developing ZeaChem’s first commercial production facility and to become the world leader in low cost production of advanced biofuels and bio-based chemicals,” said Jim Imbler, president and chief executive officer of ZeaChem. “We are proud to have GreenWood Resources, a leading supplier of economical and sustainable cellulosic feedstock, as a partner in our commercial operation. The model we have developed provides a significant strategic advantage and is something that GWR and ZeaChem will seek to replicate around the world.”
“This agreement with ZeaChem is a significant step for GTFF and for GreenWood Resources into new markets and end-uses that closely align with our sustainability goals,” said Jeff Nuss, president and chief executive officer of GreenWood Resources. “We believe that hybrid poplars are the ideal feedstock for advanced biofuels and bio-based chemicals and look forward to continuing to grow with ZeaChem.”
ZeaChem is currently constructing a 250,000 gallon-per-year demonstration-scale biorefinery in Boardman, Ore. An existing GTFF hybrid poplar tree plantation near Boardman supplies feedstock to the facility, minimizing the transportation and logistics costs of cellulosic biofuel and bio-based chemical production. Hybrid poplar trees are an excellent cellulosic feedstock because of their high yield per acre, short rotation and ability to regenerate after harvest, providing superior economic and environmental benefits. Additional advantages of woody biomass include the ability to aggregate forestry land and the forestry industry’s common practice of signing long-term contracts.
ZeaChem’s demonstration plant in Boardman, Ore. will begin to come online in 2011. The company is now developing commercial biorefineries for the production of advanced biofuels and bio-based chemicals.