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LanzaTech is Turning Waste Gases of Steel Mills into Bioethanol

10450151_680657768650710_5470902751896477621_nLanzaTech was founded in Auckland, New Zealand in 2005 and now it is headquartered in Chicago. The company has earned name through its gas fermentation process by virtue of which it turns waste gases of steel mills into bioethanol and other industrial chemicals.This Gas-to-Liquid technology has earned them a number of commercial agreements across a variety of sectors internationally.

The company has additional offices in Roselle, Illinois (NZ); New Delhi, India and Shanghai, China. Dr Jennifer Holmgren is the Chief Executive Officer of the Company.


The  proprietary process of LanzaTech uses waste gases as feedstock for fuel ethanol production. Emissions from industrial operations, coal manufacturing, oil refining and steel mills work as feedstock for the process. Syngas produced from biomass as well as coal derived syngas along with the gases generated by gasification of municipal and other industrial solid wastes are also useful feedstock for Lanzatech process.

LanzaTech Gas Fermentation Process

LanzaTech’s patented microbes consume both hydrogen and hydrogen free industrial waste gases and give out ethanol and 2-3-butanediol in a continuous process. Company’s Gas Fermentation Process has two important elements: The catalyst and The reactor.

Company’s patented acetogen microbes serve as bio catalyst for the ethanol production process. Found in the intestinal tract of rabbits these bacteria have the ability to break down carbon monoxide and carbon dioxide to convert them into ethanol. They are designed using genetic engineering. Unlike the traditional microbes which grow on sugars, these grow on flue industrial gases.

The biological transformation takes place in the Reactor. The microbes are put in the reactor which is filled with a watery broth. When the waste gas containing carbon monoxide is fed into the reactor, microbes attack it and convert it into chemicals. The output is, then, distilled to separate the products out. As per the producer the process is cost effective as it neither depends on biomass nor competes with land, food or water.

Recently in collaboration with IOC-DBT Center for Advanced Bioenergy Research, India LanzaTech has announced the development of a new process to recycle carbon dioxide emissions into Omega3 fatty acids.


LanzaTech has set up its plants in the proximity of the still mills so as to procure the waste gases easily. It is expected that the first commercial plant of the company will become operational in 2016.

Waste Gas to Fuel Demonstration Plants, China

1-LanzaTech owns a  production plant of capacity 300 mta ethanol -per – year at Baosteel mill in Shanghai.

2- The Plant in Beijing, China at Shougang Steel Mill has the capacity to produce 300 mta ethanol –per- year. The feedstock is easily available in China as the country produces 50% of the world’s steel.

Waste Gas to Fuel Industrial Pilot Plant, New Zealand

The LanzaTech pilot plant located at Blue Scope Steel Mill, in Glenbrook Auckland, has the capacity to produce 15,000 gallons ethanol per year.

Similar to LanzaTech, INEOS bio also does gas fermentation for bioethanol production but the difference is of the source of feedstock. The process at INEOS Bio converts waste dried biomass into syngas first which in turn is fermented to ethanol.




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