The Auckland-based, globally-oriented LanzaTech doesn’t miss a trick when it come to publicity as it hugely increases the explosive growth of its gas fermentation technology.
The use of its proprietary bacteria that convert steel mill flue gases (among others) to useful products such as ethanol, has already seen it sign up Chinese, Korean and Japanese partners in coal, steel and engineering collaborations.
It has taken the opportunity of the current visit of New Zealand Prime Minister John Key to India to announce yet another deal in the sub-continent. This one is with Jindai Steel and Power Ltd., to use LanzaTech’s technology to make ethanol to be blended into IndiaOil’s gasoline. The Indian Government has a national biofuels policy to increase the use of renewable fuels produced from sustainable, non food sources. Fuel now requires 10% ethanol (E10) blended with mineral fuels, rising to 20% (E20) by 2017.
There’s some pretty impressive management obviously happening behind the scenes with LanzaTech. Its founder Dr Sean Simpson and USA-based CEO Jennifer Holgrem have a tiger by the tail as its multi-projects are developed across Asia.
At the recent Paris Air Show, LanzaTech also welcomed airline decisions to use another of its bacterially created feedstocks – 2,3-Butanediol (2,3-BDO).
The company is backed by venture capitalists such as Khosla Ventures of California, as well as Stephen Tindall’s K1W1.
Undoubtedly the deep connections and contacts of these investors is being heavily leveraged as LanzaTech announces collaborative partnerships seemingly every week.
Apart from the Glenbrook steel mill pilot project, the company is yet to bring a major scale plant into production. It is using its partners’ engineering and construction expertise to employ its proprietary fermentation skills – which is the only way it could possibly manage the financial and logistic ramping up it is currently undergoing.
There’s no shortage of industrial smoke stacks around the world, and therefore no shortage of the ‘free’ waste and polluting gases for its technology to convert.
So, if so far LanzaTech’s expansion has been a wide ride; the promise is we ain’t seen nothing yet – providing it can maintain control of the tiger!