ZeaChem Inc., a developer of biorefineries for the conversion of renewable biomass into sustainable fuels and chemicals, 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. ZeaChem uses a combined biochemical and thermochemical process for the production of ethanol. (Earlier post.)
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.
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 sugarcane 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 its first commercial biorefinery.
ZeaChem is currently constructing a 250,000 gallon-per-year demonstration-scale biorefinery in Boardman, Ore.; the demo-scale plant will begin to come online this year. 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.
The company is now developing commercial biorefineries for the production of advanced biofuels and bio-based chemicals.