By Cameron Chai
ZeaChem will receive a $12 million grant from the National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA), an agency within the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), to develop advanced biofuels, including bio-based diesel, jet fuel and gasoline.
The company will be a part of the Agriculture and Food Research Initiative (AFRI) Regional Coordinated Agricultural Project (CAP), which has been initiated to set up regional systems for manufacturing bioenergy as well as bio-based products. The role of ZeaChem in the AFRI Regional CAP project is to research and develop marketable products and perform demonstrations trials for production of drop-in advanced transportation fuels. The company will carry out the project at its existing integrated demonstration biorefinery in Boardman, Morrow County, Oregon.
The production of bio-based jet and diesel is an extension of ZeaChem’s C2 product platform, which is now used at its integrated demonstration biorefinery. The facility is suitable for delivering test samples of advanced drop-in fuels for military and commercial applications. The bio-based jet and diesel fuel production is anticipated to commence in 2013, while bio-based gasoline production will begin in 2015.
The USDA grant enables the company to use its facility for developing advanced bio-based fuels beyond cellulosic ethanol. The project represents the company’s expertise in using a wide range of biomass feedstocks and advanced processes to develop various cost-effective and sustainable fuel and chemical products. ZeaChem’s President and CEO, Jim Imbler stated that the USDA funding will support the company to establish a bioenergy industry in the Pacific Northwest.
The project is led by the University of Washington along with the Agricultural Center for Excellence, University of Idaho, the University of California, Davis, Washington State University, Oregon State University and GreenWood Resources.