LanzaTech Produces Important Chemical Component from Industrial Waste Gases


New Zealand based LanzaTech recently announced that they have successfully produced a necessary component to create polymers, plastics, and fuels from their unique fermentation process.

For those unfamiliar with LanzaTech, it is a company looking to utilize industrial waste gases and waste products like trash to produce biofuels, particularly ethanol. In the process, they combine both the waste gases and waste products in a fermentation unit where proprietary microbes use these materials to create the fuel.

LanzaTech’s process differs from other ethanol production processes including the corn ethanol production process that many are familiar. Whereas corn ethanol is based off the sugars found in a corn kernel, LanzaTech’s process is based off converting carbon monoxide into ethanol using the energy found in waste products.

Additionally, other gas-to-fuel processes need a large source of hydrogen but LanzaTech’s process does not, allowing it to make use of hydrogen-deficient waste gas sources like steel mills.

This recent announcement signals the first time the polymer, plastic and fuel component 2,3- Butanediol has been created from waste gas resources in an industrial setting.

This adds another dimension to the company, allowing it to not only create biofuels, but also create various chemical components in an environmentally friendly way.

“Lanzatech is now able to offer an integrated waste gas to fuels and chemicals technology that is both economically and environmentally sound,” Dr Jennifer Holmgren, CEO of LanzaTech says. “Commercial viability of novel routes requires the integration of diverse approaches. This development means our process can deliver considerable financial returns from the sale of high value products while curbing industrial greenhouse gas emissions.”

As a side note, New Zealand is home to several promising biofuel companies. In addition to LanzaTech, one should also keep an eye on the algae biofuel company Aquaflow that is looking to grow and harvest wild algae in open ponds to create fuel and various fuel components.

Article by Jonathan Williams, appearing courtesy Celsias.

About Author

Walter’s contributions to CleanTechies over the past 4 years have been instrumental in growing the publications social media channels via his ongoing editorial and data driven strategies. He is the founder and managing director of Sunflower Tax, a renewable energy tax and finance consultancy based in San Diego, California. Active in the San Diego clean technology community, participating in events sponsored by CleanTech San Diego, EcoTopics, and Cleantech Open San Diego, Walter has also been a presenter at numerous California Center for Sustainability (CCSE) programs. He currently serves as an adjunct professor at the University of San Diego School of Law where he teaches a course on energy taxation and policy.