SCALE-UP Accelerator
Zea2’s facility in Boardman, Oregon is now offering third parties a cost-effective and accelerated means to prove their technology at scale while avoiding the time, treasure, and talent necessary to build, own, and operate a non-commercial demonstration facility.

With a wide variety of unit operations - centered around our fermentation capabilities - customers can scale their technologies with equipment that can be replicated at larger scales.

SC Ventures has invested in capital projects to upgrade the fermentation seed train through 15,000-liter scale to run aerobically and aseptically at the Zea2 facility. This has enabled us to successfully develop upstream and downstream processes to produce amino acids, organic acids, food additives, cellulosic sugars, alcohols, and esters at the facility for both food and industrial grade products.

Analytical capabilities include, multiple HPLCs, and a Gas Chromatography system from Agilent, and a Dionex Ion Chromatogrpahy system. Additionally, a BlueSens BlueInOne Ferm off-gas analyzer and a Sartorius BioPAT Trace real-time sugar dialysis system round out the suite of instruments. Finally a Delta-V DCS historian system to record flow rates, temperature and pH throughout the plant.

Zea2 has partnered with PreSage to bring together our Quality Management System with maintenance tracking enroute to ISO9001 certification. We are also progressing on our GFSI roadmap and can accommodate food additive production by conducting a HACCP review and integrating required safety protocols.

The Demonstration facility incorporates five primary equipment packages: (1) Aerobic fermentation, (2) anaerobic fermentation, (3) separations, (4) recovery, (5) esterification, (6) hydrogenolysis and (7) pretreatment. The facility was designed with flexibility in mind; existing units can be easily modified and are ready to accept additional drop-in modules. ZeaChem’s engineering and operations teams, with deep domain knowledge, are available to support new demonstration projects as requested.

Boardman Zea2 Demonstration Equipment Description

  1. The aerobic fermentation system has environmentally controlled fermenters with clean in place and steam sterilization capability. The fermenters includes a seed train that can propagate up from 20 liters to 200 liters to 1,400 liters and then to a 12,000 liter production fermenter. Zea2 also offers laboratory fermentation services with four 2- liter Eppendorf BioFlo 115 benchtop fermenters.

  2. The anaerobic fermentation system has environmentally controlled fermenters with clean in place and steam sanitation capabilities. Anaerobic fermenter sizes include 1,100 liters, 18,000 liters and three 151,000- liter production fermenters. With quick modification, the aerobic fermentation system can be tied in to the anaerobic system for an integrated 10X scale-up seed train.

  3. The separations system contains most types of physical separations including disk stack and decanter centrifugation, micro-, ultra-, and nano-filtration, reverse osmosis, vacuum belt filtration and multiple filter presses.

  4. The solvent recovery system includes a liquid-liquid extraction and distillation- based unit that can recover products from fermentation broths of less than 5% concentration. This unit can be configured to perform vacuum evaporation as well.

  5. The esterification unit is a Class-1, Div-1, catalytic reactor capable of converting glacial organic acids into esters in the presence of alcohols. With modification it can also be run as a 2- stage distillation column.

  6. The hydrogenolysis unit is Class-1, Div-1, vapor phase catalytic reactor capable of converting esters into alcohols. With modification it can be configured as a trickle bed catalytic reactor.

  7. The pretreatment unit, is capable of supplying custom cellulosic and hemi-cellulosic sugar streams from a variety of feedstocks. The Andritz-based system, can process up to 10 tons per day of chipped cellulosic biomass* into separate C5 and C6 sugar streams. The pretreatment unit can operate using steam explosion, dilute acid/base or auto hydrolysis, in single stage or dual stage configuration. With minor upgrades, the hydrolysis unit can incorporate other pretreatment chemicals and configurations. (*Instantaneous rate for high density material, actual rates will vary.) The unit has processed, hardwood chip, wheat straw, corn stover, bana grass, sugarcane bagasse and sugar beets.


Zea2’s Demonstration plant was built in the industrial zoned Port of Morrow in Boardman, OR. The facility is sited adjacent to significant transportation and utility infrastructure including: