A 250,000-gallon-per-year cellulosic ethanol biorefinery in Boardman, OR, is expected to begin production the end of this year, according to ZeaChem, Inc., the company that build it.
“With construction completed, ZeaChem looks forward to starting integrated operations and the production of cellulosic ethanol this year,” says Jim Imbler, its president and chief executive officer. “We are executing a phased start-up approach to limit risk, stabilize and optimize operations, and ensure safety. ZeaChem is focused on successfully demonstrating integrated operations and commercializing its highly efficient, economical and sustainable biorefining process.”
The company’score process, completed earlier this year, “enables the production of acetic acid and ethyl acetate – intermediate chemicals for applications including paints, lacquers and consumer goods representing a $10 billion market worldwide. That process has been commissioned and fermentation of sugar feedstocks has been replicated in 40,000-gallon tanks,” according to a company press release.
With the support of a $25-million investment from the U.S. Department of Energy’s Integrated Biorefinery program, ZeaChem will be able to utilize locally sourced biomass, including wood and wheat straw, to be fermented and converted into intermediate chemicals and ethanol.