02 June 2010 23:00 [Source: ICIS news]
The refinery should have a capacity of 250,000 gal/year (946,000 litre/year) and cost about $40m (€32.8m), with $25m coming from grant from the US Department of Energy (DOE), said Jim Imbler, Zeachem chief executive.
Imbler made his comments during a conference call at the refinery's groundbreaking ceremony in Oregon.
Ethyl acetate is mainly produced by the esterification of ethanol with acetic acid.
Both the acetic acid and etac produced at the plant will be used for commercial testing, Imbler said.
“As soon as the ethanol plant is up and running, we plan to bolt on the ethyl acetate equipment to leverage the infrastructure of the plant. If all goes well, we expect to start producing ethyl acetate for commercial testing by the end of 2011 or beginning of 2012,” Imbler added.
Zeachem did not disclose the production capacity for either the acetic acid or the ethyl acetate. Imbler said that the refinery will be capable of producing a fairly significant amount of ethyl acetate that would support the market needs for customer testing.
The company expected to sign on a partnership or joint venture deal with chemical companies for the ethyl acetate production. Imbler said it expected prices for its bio-based ethyl acetate to be consistent with the market.
Contract prices for US ethyl acetate in May were within the 61-65 cent/lb range ($1,345-$1,433/tonne), according to ICIS pricing.
Zeachem also plans to license its fermentation-based acetic acid process to international partners as soon as the demonstration plant has been validated.
($1 = €0.82)
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