Oregon Governor Tours ZeaChem Biorefinery

Oregon Governor John Kitzhaber took a tour of the ZeaChem 250,000 gallon-per-year biorefinery in Boardman Monday as the company announced it has begun construction on the Department of Energy-funded project for the production of cellulosic ethanol.

Earlier this year, the company announced the start of operations of the core facility for the production of intermediate chemicals acetic acid and ethyl acetate.

“ZeaChem is exactly the type of innovative company that is driving Oregon’s economy and revitalizing our rural communities,” said Governor Kitzhaber. “This facility and the planned commercial plant are creating quality jobs, while producing sustainable alternatives to fossil-fuel products by using local resources.”

“We welcome Governor Kitzhaber to our Boardman biorefinery and appreciate the tremendous support we’ve received from his office, the state of Oregon and the DOE during the construction of our plant,” said Jim Imbler, president and chief executive officer of ZeaChem. “Building the cellulosic ethanol capacity on to our core technology is a significant milestone as we ramp up to commercial production of advanced biofuels and bio-based chemicals.”

ZeaChem’s proprietary core technology produces intermediate chemicals acetic acid and ethyl acetate, both high-value products for applications including paints, lacquers and solvents. The DOE project adds the capacity to use cellulosic biomass on the front end and convert ethyl acetate into ethanol on the back end. It is supported by a $25 million cooperative agreement from the DOE. The integrated biorefinery will begin cellulosic ethanol production in 2012.

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