ZeaChem cranks up refinery operations in Boardman

The core of the ZeaChem biorefinery in Boardman is open for business.

The core of the ZeaChem biorefinery in Boardman is open for business.

ZeaChem announced Thursday it finished construction on the core of its demonstration biorefinery in Boardman right on schedule.

The plant will start production this month, producing the chemicals acetic acid and ethyl acetate, which are used in paints, lacquers and solvents. ZeaChem will market the chemicals to product developers looking for alternatives to petroleum-based materials.

The facility will employ 25 people.

"Beginning operations at the core facility is another indication that ZeaChem continues to successfully execute its strategic roadmap,” said Jim Imbler, president and CEO of ZeaChem in a press release.

ZeaChem intends to scale up from the initial chemical production to add the capability of using cellulosic biomass on the front end and converting ethyl acetate into ethanol on the back end. That work is supported by a $25 million grant from the U.S. Department of Energy and is expected to be up and running later in the year.

The plant, a demonstration facility, will produce up to 250,000 gallons per year of cellulosic ethanol.

In addition, ZeaChem received $12 million in funding earlier this year from the U.S. Department of Agriculture to support the production of advanced biofuels. The company has expressed interest in building a full commercial-scale biorefinery in Boardman adjacent to the demonstration facility.

@SustianableBzOR | christinawilliams@bizjournals.com | 503.219.3438


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