Introducing LanzaTech

The green blogger is out the rest of the week. For now, the blog will leave you a little information about this interesting new company based in New Zealand that came into my radar three weeks ago.

The newly-hired CEO of LanzaTech, Jennifer Holmgren, wrote me an email regarding the company. If any of the ICIS Chemical Business readers recalled, I used to talk to Ms. Holmgren when she was still the director of renewable energy and chemicals business at Honeywell’s UOP LLC.

LanzaTech is also part of Khosla Ventures’ investment, and Mr. Khosla in fact, talked about the company briefly at the BIO Industrial biotech conference. More on Vinod Khosla’s presentation in another post next week.

Back to LanzaTech, the company has developed a proprietary gas fermentation technology for producing ethanol and high value chemicals such as methyl ethyl ketone, acrylic acid, etc. from waste flue gas streams. Their process has already been demonstrated since November 2008 at a 15,000 gal.year pilot plant using waste flue gas streams from an operating steel mill of BlueScope Steel in Glenbrook, New Zealand.

According to Holmgren, their process has also been demonstrated at the laboratory scale using syngas produced from woody biomass.

LanzaTech plans to construct Phase 1 of their first commercial plant in 3Q 2010, and Phase 2 construction planned for 2012. This world-first ‘steel waste to ethanol/chemicals’ plant is expected to be operational and profitable by 2013.

LanzaTech estimates its bacteria-based approach could produce over 120bn liters/year of ethanol using existing steel mill gases alone.

On June 22, LanzaTech announced its joint venture with China’s largest steel and iron conglomerate, Baosteel, and the Chinese Academy of Sciences (CAS) to commercialize LanzaTech’s technologies for producing fuel ethanol from steel mill flue gases.

Baosteel Metal and LanzaTech will build a demonstration plant (still have to check the capacity for this) at one of Baosteel’s steel mills in China, with the intention of quick scale-up to commercial scale producing over 200m liters/year of ethanol. The demonstration facility is expected to be in operation in the second half of 2011.

This week, the company announced its successful $18m series B fundraising from investors led by China focused venture capital firm Qiming Ventures.

The funding will enable LanzaTech to further accelerate commercialization of its process. Holmgren says they are currently working on a chemicals strategy.

Definitely looking forward to learn more about this company!

Leave a Reply