Biofuel, Company initiatives

Zeachem starts cellulosic ethanol output

There are soooo many news that came out this week, I just can’t do a longer analysis on each of them. But I’ll try to post as much of these news items as I can.

First stop is Colorado, US-based Zeachem. The company’s announcement this week is really just a confirmation that their Boardman, Oregon, biorefinery demonstration plant, which was completed late last year, is able to produce commercial-grade cellulosic chemicals and ethanol. The facility, which has a capacity of 250,000 gal/year, uses dedicated wood biomass such as poplar trees for feedstock supplied by its partner GreenWood Resources. The company said their biorefinery can also use other non-food biomass such as switch grass.

The facility is already producing cellulosic-based acetic acid ($16bn global market) and ethyl acetate ($5bn global market), and that the biorefinery will be flexible enough to produce 100% cellulosic ethanol if needed or varying volumes of ethanol, ethyl acetate or acetic acid, whichever product is in demand.

Through simple processing adjustments, Zeachem said its technology can also create C3 chemicals including propionic acid, ethyl propionate, propanol and propylene.

The company cited ongoing strategic partnerships with energy firm Valero and car manufacturer Chrysler Group for their cellulosic ethanol. The blog however recalls other partnership deals such as with Procter & Gamble (C3 platform) and Itochu.

The next step for Zeachem is the development of its first commercial biorefinery, which the company said is already underway. Backed by a conditional loan guarantee from the US Department of Agriculture, the commercial facility will have a capacity of 25m gal/year and will be located at the Port of Morrow in Boardman, Oregon, adjacent to the 250,000 gal/year demo facility.

About Doris de Guzman

Will Green Chemistry save the world or is it hype? Doris de Guzman examines alternative processing, new technology, R&D and other sustainability initiatives aimed at preventing pollution; replacing ingredients; and using renewable feedstocks in Green Chemistry. She has been covering the oleochemicals market for 15 years and spread her beat to inorganics, biofuels and green chemistry.

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