ZeaChem a finalist for $4.6M 3-carbon platform grant from California Energy Commission

October 19, 2012 |

In recent years, the two-carbon (ethanol, ethyl acetate, acetic acid) and four-carbon (butanol, butadiene, butanediol) platforms have been the most highly-chased in the industry. The three-carbon platform has excellent prices and market potential, but development in proproylene, propane, and propanol (among other 3-carbon molecules) has lagged.

That may change, following action on proposed grants from the California Energy Commission.

Commission staff have proposed a $4.6 million award to ZeaChem for the development of a pilot plant at its Menlo Park, Calif. research and development (R&D) facility to scale up the company’s C3 (three-carbon atom) product platform for advanced biofuel production.

The proposed award, which the Energy Commission will consider at a future business meeting, will enable the production of low-carbon drop-in bio-based gasoline, with identical chemical structure and performance as petroleum-based gasoline, from woody biomass and agricultural residues.

The award will also cover costs for completion of a commercial feasibility study, which will analyze market acceptance of advanced fuels and the regional supply chain for a potential commercial scale biorefinery in Northern California.

ZeaChem is deploying its C2 (two-carbon atom) product platform at the demonstration scale in Boardman, Ore. for the production of cellulose-based acetic acid, ethyl acetate, ethanol, jet fuel and diesel. ZeaChem’s first commercial biorefinery is under development. The C3 product platform is the next product portfolio being scaled-up by ZeaChem to further diversify the company’s product offering for the fuel and chemical industries.

“ZeaChem thanks the California Energy Commission for selection of this award, which will accelerate the commercialization of our C3 platform of bio-based fuels,” said Jim Imbler, president and chief executive officer of ZeaChem. “We are working to establish an advanced biofuels supply chain to provide the state with a sustainable, economic source for low-carbon gasoline.”

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