The Colorado-based ZeaChem announced today that it has finished building its biorefinery in Boardman and plans to start producing biofuel by the end of the year with the help of $25 million in new investments.
I've reported on five things you should know about the $390 million ZeaChem project: For one thing, it's cellulosic ethanol made from wood and farm waste. It uses a microbe found in termites to break down woody material and turn it into fuel. It has a $25 million grant from the U.S. Department of Energy and $12 million and a $232 million loan guarantee from the U.S. Department of Agriculture.
In a news release today, the company reported construction of the facility is complete, and the refinery will soon be ready to produce 250,000 gallons of biofuel a year, as well as acetic acid and ethyl acetate that can be used in paints and lacquers.
“With construction completed, ZeaChem looks forward to starting integrated operations and the production of cellulosic ethanol this year,” said ZeaChem CEO Jim Imbler. “We are executing a phased start-up approach to limit risk, stabilize and optimize operations, and ensure safety."
New investments from Japan-based multinational trading company ITOCHU Corp., Australia-based global investment banking group Macquarie, and six other companies will support ZeaChem's operations and expand its reach into global markets, Imbler said.