LanzaTech’s commercialisation goes transtasman

A world-leading pilot project to convert waste gases to low carbon fuels and chemicals is being extended through a new agreement between LanzaTech and New Zealand Steel. The agreement gives NZ Steel, and its Australian parent company Bluescope Steel, the opportunity to use LanzaTech’s technology commercially. The two companies established a partnership in 2008 when LanzaTech built its pilot plant to produce ethanol from waste gases at NZ Steel’s mill at Glenbrook, south Auckland. Dr Jennifer Holmgren, LanzaTech’s chief executive, says this new agreement reflects both LanzaTech’s move from technology development to technology commercialisation and also NZ Steel’s commitment to supporting innovative solutions for sustainable growth. NZ Steel President Simon Linge says NZ Steel was founded on innovation and the relationship with LanzaTech is an extension of that innovative spirit. “This agreement helps build our various investments in a sustainable manufacturing business and continues our commitment to lower our environmental footprint.”
Reducing carbon emissions play a key role in reducing the environmental footprint of the steel industry. LanzaTech’s process captures and diverts to fuel around a third of the carbon that would otherwise be emitted as CO2 through the steelmaking process. “LanzaTech’s process addresses all three sustainability pillars,” Dr Holmgren says. “The use of a waste gas as a feedstock means we are not impacting land use or the food value chain while promoting economic growth and producing low carbon fuels.” The NZ Steel pilot has proven LanzaTech’s proprietary fermentation process is scalable from the laboratory. Some of the ethanol produced at Glenbrook has been further converted into aviation biofuel as well as fuel grade ethanol.
LanzaTech now has a well developed fuel strategy encompassing technical, strategic and commercial partnerships with global entities, including eight Fortune 500 global companies. The construction of the first 100,000 gallon a year demonstration scale plant using LanzaTech technology is being completed in China and further plants in China and India are expected to be started in 2012.