LanzaTech: Biofuels Digest’s 2015 5-Minute Guide

January 13, 2015 |

5-Minute-Guide-logoCompany description:

LanzaTech has developed a fully sustainable integrative gas to fuels and chemicals platform that has no impact on food, water security or high biodiversity land use.

LanzaTech’s gas fermentation platform disrupts the current highly centralized global energy system by enabling the regional production of low-cost energy from local wastes and residues, including gases as varied as industrial flue gas, gasified biomass wastes and residues, biogas, and high-CO2 stranded natural gas. The company was originally founded in 2005 in New Zealand.

The proprietary gas-to-liquid platform produces fuels and high value chemicals such as 2,3-butanediol (2,3 BDO) and acetic acid from a variety of waste gas resources.

LanzaTech’s biological microbes can utilize the lowest cost, most readily available gas resources including waste industrial flue gases from steel mills, processing plants and refineries; syngas generated from any biomass resource (such as municipal biowaste, organic industrial waste, and agricultural waste); coal derived syngas; and reformed natural gas are all resources for the LanzaTech gas fermentation process.


50 Hottest Companies in Bioenergy, #1, 2014-15

30 Hottest Companies in Renewable Chemicals, #5, 2014-15

Biofuels Digest Awards

2013 New Partnership of the Year  (biobased chemicals & materials) — LanzaTech, Evonik

2012 Partnership of the Year Award: BaoSteel, LanzaTech


Profiled in: 12 Bellwether Biofuels Projects for 2013

Won Biofuels Digest’s 2012 Partnership of the Year Award: BaoSteel, LanzaTech

Featured in: What’s China up to now? Making fuel from waste steel gas, for one.

Featured in: China Steel, LCY Chemical form JV to commercialize LanzaTech advanced biofuels technology

The Situation

Last month, the New Zealand Superannuation Fund made a US$60 million equity investment in leading gas fermentation company LanzaTech. While LanzaTech’s Series D round is not yet officially closed — the company has raised almost double its original target of $60-$80 million with a total of $120 million to date.

LanzaTech: Biofuels Digest’s 2014 5-Minute Guide

Junk or treasure? Looking at carbon monoxide and LanzaTech 

Readers select LanzaTech as #1 in The 50 Hottest Companies in Bioenergy for 2014-15

HSBC to join Virgin Atlantic, LanzaTech partnership for low carbon jet fuel

Major Investors

New Zealand Superannuation Fund, Dialog Group Berhad, K1W1, Khosla Ventures, Malaysian Life Sciences Capital Fund (MLSCF),PETRONAS Technology Ventures, Qiming Venture Partners

Past Milestones

In October 2014, Virgin Atlantic has announced that the UK’s largest bank, HSBC, is joining its partnership with LanzaTech in preparation for a world-first flight using a ground-breaking low carbon fuel. The support of HSBC will allow production of this innovative new fuel to move from sample size to demo scale – and will produce a sufficient amount of fuel to conduct the proving flight. These are vital steps in the process to achieve American Society for Testing and Materials certification of the alcohol to jet production pathway. ASTM certification is a significant step towards commercialization of LanzaTech’s sustainable fuel solution, which is expected to have half the carbon footprint of petroleum jet.

In May 2014, INVISTA and LanzaTech signed a research and development agreement focused on the development of gas-fermentation process technology for the production of industrial chemicals from carbon dioxide and hydrogen gas (CO2 and H2) feedstocks. According to the agreement, INVISTA and LanzaTech will collaborate on projects to develop gas-fermentation technologies to convert CO2/H2 feedstocks into a range of industrial chemicals using proprietary INVISTA host organisms and metabolic pathways. If successful, the first commercialization of this technology is expected as early as 2018.

In December 2013, Evonik Industries and LanzaTech have signed a three year research cooperation agreement which will see Evonik combining its existing biotechnology platforms with LanzaTech’s synthetic biology and gas fermentation expertise for the development of a route to bioprocessedn precursors for specialty plastics from waste derived synthesis gas.

In November 2013, Beijing Shougang LanzaTech New Energy Science & Technology Co. Ltd earned a sustainability certification from the Roundtable on Sustainable Biomaterials Services Foundation for the joint venture’s waste steel mill gas to biofuel plant. It is the first RSB-certified biofuel plant in China, and the first to receive this certification for industrial carbon capture and utilization.

In September 2013, LanzaTech’s 300 metric ton/year gas-to-ethanol pilot plant in Jingtang, northern China that was halted in February due to a technical glitch with its blast furnace came back online in August. During the next few months, auditors are expected to visit the plant in order to seek sustainability certification to allow access in those markets.

In June 2013, Siemens and LanzaTech signed a ten-year co-operation agreement to develop and market integrated environmental solutions for the steel industry worldwide. The collaboration will utilize the ground-breaking fermentation technology developed by LanzaTech transforming carbon-rich off-gases generated by the steel industry into low carbon bioethanol and other platform chemicals. Siemens and LanzaTech will work together on process integration and optimization, and on the marketing and realization of customer projects.

Future Milestones

  • First commercial facility in operation at a steel mill in China; producing 30 million gallons of ethanol per year
  • Demonstrate production of C4 chemicals
  • Initiate 2 additional commercial facilities

Business Model

Two business models: technology licensor and part owner-operator by way of JVs. Business model for any specific project determined by location and customer preference. Either model capital light as plant fully funded by customer/JV partner.

Competitive Edge

The LanzaTech process is the only process that converts waste gases to fuels and chemicals, from any source of CO or CO2. LanzaTech has proven its gas fermentation process using industrial waste gases with its proprietary microbe. Waste gases have never been used before as a nutrient source as the conditioning process makes it economically unfeasible. LanzaTech’s microbe does not require the gases to be conditioned and so they are able to use this available low cost waste product as a nutrient for growth. A unique strength of LanzaTech is its in-house synthetic biology capability, which allows for engineering and further development of its microbe, enabling the expansion of a diverse product slate into higher value chemical markets going forward.


Waste Gas to Fuel : LanzaTech Pilot Plant

Location: Auckland, New Zealand

Materials or products produced: ethanol

Capacity: 15,000 gallons per annum

Year, month in service  2008

Feedstock: Steel mill off gases

Processing technology: Gas Fermentation


Waste Gas to Fuel: LanzaTech BaoSteel New Energy Co., Ltd.

Location: Shanghai, China

Materials or products produced: Ethanol

Capacity: 100,000 gallons per annum

Year, month in service: 2012 — commercial scale in planning

Feedstock: Steel mill off gases

Processing technology: Gas Fermentation


Waste Gas to Fuel: Beijing Shougang LanzaTech New Energy Technology Co., Ltd.

Location: Caofeidian, China

Materials or products produced: Ethanol

Capacity: 100,000 gallons per annum

Year, month in service: 2012

Status: Open

Feedstock: Steel mill off gases

Processing technology: Gas Fermentation


Biomass Syngas to Fuel: LanzaTech Freedom Pines Biorefinery

Location: Soperton, Georgia

Materials or products produced: Ethanol

Capacity: 10M gallons per annum

Year, month in service: planned

Feedstock: Biomass syngas

Processing technology: Gas Fermentation


MSW Syngas to Electricity and Fuel with Concord Enviro Systems PVT Ltd

Location: Aurangabad, India

Materials or products produced: Ethanol

Capacity: 100,000 gallons per annum

Year, month in service: planned

Feedstock: Municipal solid waste

Processing technology: Gas Fermentation

Products and applications

Ethanol: Fuel blending; conversion to drop-in jet fuel.

2,3 BDO/butadiene: conversion to hydrocarbon fuels, conversion to butadiene for rubbers, plastics and nylon market

Acetic acid: low cost production from LT, enables economic conversion to lipids and subsequent conversion to jet fuels.

Isobutylene: Can be converted into fuels, plastics, organic glass and elastomers. It can also be directly converted to polymers and jet fuel relevant C-12 molecules.


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Category: 5-Minute Guide

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