ZeaChem's biorefineries are defined by four components: feedstock, sugar extraction from that feedstock, conversion of those sugars via some type of biological fermentation, and optionally further downstream thermochemical processing. ZeaChem’s technology is a sugar conversion via bacteria. ZeaChem serves many types of feedstock providers, sugar extractors, other biological platforms, such as yeast and other bacterias, and thermochemcial process providers at its technology institute and welcomes the opportunity to explore mutually beneficial project development opportunities in pursuit of its ultimate goal to build a portfolio of true biorefineries.
ZeaChem follows two primary tenets with respect to its project development: one, ‘grow where you go’ and two, ‘build to serve’. This means locating projects adjacent to economic cellulosic feedstocks and designing projects and the products they produce to serve local and regional market customers. These combined with existing logistics and utility infrastructure define the three critical pillars of ZeaChem project site selection.
ZeaChem successfully built and operates a semi-work scale, 10 bone dry ton per day input, 250,000 gallon per year ethanol or equivalent biochemical output biorefinery in Boardman, OR. ZeaChem is currently completing the engineering work for its 1st Commercial cellulosic ethanol plant, which will be located adjacent to its existing plant. The semi-work scale biorefinery has served as a demonstration platform for the 1st Commercial plant’s design configuration and will ultimately serve as an expansion arm of the 1st Commercial plant for small volume specialty bio chemical and fuel production.
Feedstock: Wood Is Good
Wood as biomass feedstock has many advantages over other agricultural residues. It has a significant bulk density advantage over other, lighter, biomass feedstocks, allowing you to put more mass through the same sized system increasing your overall daily input by a factor of ~2.5 without increasing capex. It can be stored on the stump until it is needed for conversion into ethanol or a chemical product, eliminating storage concerns.
In Boardman, ZeaChem has a long term contract with its feedstock partner, GreenWood Resources to supply all of the required feedstock to the Commercial Plant. GreenWood is the nation's leader in hybrid poplar tree genetics and production. Contracting with GreenWood eliminates much of the feedstock price risk and ensures continuity of supply. Long term supply agreements through companies such as GreenWood ensure the availability of sustainable, economical and plentiful feedstock.
Products: Advantaged & Diverse
The Biorefinery will produce cellulosic ethanol in a robust Pacific Northwest ethanol market. The Biorefinery has the ability to produce small volume slipstream quantities of renewable chemical products when those products are priced higher than ethanol (lignin, acids, acetates, and alcohols, with expansion opportunities for other biofuels, renewable chemicals and bio based products).
Site Infrastructure: Existing
The site selection in Boardman allows ZeaChem to avoid building a long term feedstock storage facility, a power plant, a waste water treatment facility and terminal loading facilities and the associated capex.
Design: Proven Operations
The Boardman Biorefinery replicates a technology platform that is based on commercially available equipment configured in a unique manner. This technology platform has been demonstrated and is currently producing at ZeaChem’s adjacent demonstration facility. Similar biorefineries are operating at commercial scale in North & South America and Europe. Performance expectations have been confirmed and are being continuously optimized at ZeaChem’s existing demonstration plant.
Portfolio: Worldwide Roll out
Given product and feedstock flexibility, and readily scaleable technology the Boardman Biorefinery will support a hockey stick project roll-out of similar biorefineries in the United States and Worldwide. These follow-on biorefineries will utilize a similar design basis, share the same siting criteria, and will be built to suit the local market focusing on the lowest cost alternative feedstocks (forestry residue, agricultural residue and/or dedicated energy crops) and the highest value alternative products (acids, esters, alcohols, olefins, etc.). ZeaChem has already identified its next three project sites in the United States with defined long term feedstock and product offtake interest.