Colorado company uses bacteria to convert wood to fuel |

Colorado company uses bacteria to convert wood to fuel

LAKEWOOD, Colorado ” A Colorado biofuel company has selected a Denver-based engineering firm as the contractor on its first refinery.

ZeaChem Inc. said Monday that CH2M Hill will be the engineering, procurement and construction contractor on a refinery planned in Boardman, Ore. Construction is set to start this year.

Lakewood-based ZeaChem recently raised $34 million to help build a refinery using a process in which bacteria converts wood to fuel. The company plans to use poplar wood from GreenWood Resources tree farm in Oregon.

James Imbler, ZeaChem’s president and CEO, said CH2M Hill is a global leader in engineering, procurement, construction, management and operations for government, civil, industrial and energy clients.

ZeaChem’s biofuel process combines different methods. Imbler said the process is about 40 percent more efficient than other technologies.

Acetogen, a type of bacteria, is used to break down the cellulose in the wood.

ZeaChem’s investors include Valero Energy Corp., the nation’s largest independent oil refiner. The company operates a research and development laboratory facility in Menlo Park, Calif.

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