Colorado building biofuel facility

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DENVER (A.P.) – A Colorado company that has developed a process to convert wood to fuel is starting construction of what will eventually be a commercial-scale production plant.

Lakewood-based ZeaChem Inc. is working with Hazen Research of Golden to build the first units of its biofuels refinery. ZeaChem President and CEO Jim Imbler says the company will transfer the modular units to Boardman, Ore., where it will eventually run a commercial refinery.

ZeaChem plans to start production at a demonstration facility in Oregon by the end of next year.

ZeaChem uses a bacteria to break down the cellulose in wood to make fuel. Imbler says the process, unlike traditional fermentation with yeast, produces little carbon dioxide.

The company raised $34 million earlier this year to help build a refinery.