ZeaChem Inc., a developer of biorefineries for the conversion of renewable biomass into sustainable fuels and chemicals, has signed a Cooperative Agreement with the US Department of Energy (DOE) to receive the $25 million grant awarded by the Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy (EERE), Biomass Program, and funded by the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA). (Earlier post.) The agreement allows ZeaChem to begin receiving the first phase of funding from the grant.
The DOE grant will be used to construct and operate the cellulosic ethanol production capability that will be added to the core ZeaChem technology, which will produce ethyl acetate, the chemical precursor to ethanol. ZeaChem will begin producing cellulosic ethanol in 2011 at the company’s 250,000 gallon-per-year biorefinery, to be located in Boardman, Oregon.
ZeaChem Inc. has developed a cellulose-based biorefinery platform capable of producing advanced fuels and intermediate chemicals. ZeaChem says its indirect approach leapfrogs the yield and carbon dioxide (CO2) problems associated with traditional and cellulosic based biorefinery processes. In addition, ZeaChem has a capital cost advantage compared to other cellulosic technologies.
In February, ZeaChem reported successful process scaling for its fermentation of acetic acid, an intermediate in the ZeaChem process, from 0.5 liter (lab-scale) to 5,000 liters. (Earlier post.)