ZeaChem Inc. today announced it has completed construction of the core facility for its new integrated demonstration biorefinery in Boardman, Oregon. Construction of this core project was completed on schedule, with no lost time or reportable accidents, and significantly under budget. The core facility created 50 construction jobs and will employ 25 full-time operations staff in the region.
The core will produce the intermediate chemicals acetic acid and ethyl acetate, which are high-value products for applications including paints, lacquers and solvents. ZeaChem will sell bio-based chemicals to commercial and industrial customers seeking renewable and cost-competitive alternatives to petroleum-sourced chemicals.
“Beginning operations at the core facility is another indication that ZeaChem continues to successfully execute its strategic roadmap,” said Jim Imbler, president and chief executive officer of ZeaChem. “Our phased development approach minimizes risk by allowing us to produce marketable products as we scale up our biorefining operations. We will continue to build out our biorefinery platform to produce a broad portfolio of sustainable and economical chemicals and fuels derived from cellulosic biomass.”
ZeaChem is further developing its integrated biorefinery through implementation of a second project to add the capability of using cellulosic biomass on the front end and converting ethyl acetate into ethanol on the back end. This separate “bookends” project is currently underway and supported by a $25 million grant from the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE). Once operational in 2012, it will result in the production of up to 250,000 gallons per year (GPY) of cellulosic ethanol.
The company is now developing commercial biorefineries for the production of advanced biofuels and bio-based chemicals.