ZeaChem and Partners Awarded $6 million for Hawaiian Biofuels Project

posted - JUL 26, 2012

LAKEWOOD, COLO. – July 26, 2012 – ZeaChem Inc., developer of highly-efficient biorefineries, today announced it has been awarded part of a $6 million grant by the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) and U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) for the development of advanced biofuels utilizing tropical grasses. ZeaChem is part of a consortium led by the University of Hawaii that includes Oregon State University, Washington State University, Hawaiian Commercial and Sugar Company, and Hawaii BioEnergy LLC.
ZeaChem’s technology has great potential to reduce Hawaii’s dependence on imported fossil fuels, which the state depends on for over 90 percent of its energy needs. The project will focus on the production of bio-based jet and diesel fuel from tropical grasses grown in Hawaii. Because its process can use any type of non-food biomass, ZeaChem will be able to optimize its sustainable and economical high yield fermentation process for local feedstocks grown in Hawaii, specifically tropical grasses. The four-year project will enable lab and engineering scale production of bio-based jet and diesel fuels.

“This grant enables ZeaChem to use its highly efficient biorefining process to meet the energy needs of Hawaii based on locally available, sustainable feedstocks,” said Jim Imbler, president and chief executive officer of ZeaChem. “ZeaChem commends the USDA and DOE for recognizing the unique economic, land use, and energy security challenges faced by Hawaii.”

The award is part of the USDA’s and DOE’s joint Biomass Research and Development Initiative (BRDI). The program provides competitive grants, contracts, and financial assistance to carry out research, development, and demonstration of biofuels and biobased products, and the methods, practices and technologies for their production.

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