ZeaChem Raises $34 Million

ZeaChem Inc., a Lakewood, Colo.-based developer of biorefineries for the conversion of biomass into fuels and chemicals, has raised $34 million in Series B funding. Globespan Capital Partners and PrairieGold Venture Partners co-led the round, and were joined by return backers Mohr Davidow Ventures, Firelake Capital and Valero Energy Corp.



ZeaChem Inc., a developer of biorefineries for the conversion of biomass into fuels and chemicals, today announced that it has raised $34 million in initial Series B financing. The funding round was co-led by venture capital investors Globespan Capital Partners and PrairieGold Venture Partners with follow-on investment by MDV-Mohr Davidow Ventures, Firelake Capital and Valero Energy Corporation, the largest petroleum refiner in the United States.


ZeaChem is developing a cellulose-based green fuels and chemicals biorefinery platform that converts renewable non-food biomass into market-competitive products such as ethanol. The new funds will be used to build ZeaChem’s first cellulosic biorefinery.


“ZeaChem has made tremendous progress over the past year towards commercializing its hybrid cellulosic ethanol technology,” said James Imbler, president and chief executive officer, ZeaChem Inc. “The initial Series B funding will allow us to produce the highest yield, lowest capital cost, lowest carbon footprint bio-based fuels and chemicals benefitting our investors, strategic partners, and our future customers. Securing such funding in a challenging economy – from industry leaders in both energy and venture capital – is testament to the value of ZeaChem’s third generation cellulosic ethanol platform.”


“Colorado is well-positioned to support innovation in the renewable fuels industry,” said Don Elliman, executive director of the Colorado Office of Economic Development and International Trade. “As the country faces tough economic times, ZeaChem’s announcement that it has raised financing is good news, and we look forward to supporting their continued success in Colorado’s ‘New Energy Economy’.”


ZeaChem’s unique and sustainable approach combines the best of biochemical and thermochemical processes to produce 40 percent more ethanol per ton of biomass over any known competitor. This significant yield advantage leapfrogs first and second generation ethanol production practices and processes, placing ZeaChem at the forefront of third generation technology. Compared to corn ethanol, ZeaChem delivers nearly six times the land productivity and nearly three times compared to second generation cellulosic ethanol.


ZeaChem will begin construction in 2009 of its first plant.


About ZeaChem Inc.


ZeaChem Inc. has developed a cellulose-based biorefinery platform capable of producing third-generation ethanol fuel and intermediate chemicals. ZeaChem’s indirect approach leapfrogs the yield and carbon dioxide (CO(2)) problems associated with traditional and cellulosic based ethanol processes. In addition, ZeaChem has a significant capital cost advantage compared to other cellulosic ethanol technologies. By efficiently extracting the most energy possible from biomass feedstocks, ZeaChem significantly increases output while reducing both production costs and environmental impacts. Incorporated in 2002, ZeaChem is headquartered in Lakewood, Colorado and operates a research and development laboratory facility in Menlo Park, California.


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