From industrial waste gobbler to high quality fuel technology, LanzaTech signs US$46m deal with Taiwan steel company

LanzaTech's technology: To help keep carbons in the ground and to recycle carbon.
After successfully testing its patented technology, LanzaTech is set to get cracking on a commercial plant to produce ethanol out of carbon dioxide waste from a steel mill.

LanzaTech, a clean tech company which has been testing its technology using bacteria to gobble up carbon dioxide for conversion into high quality fuel such as ethanol, has just clinched a US$46 million (NZ$60.85 million) from Taiwan’s largest steelmaker China Steel Corporation to run a commercial ethanol facility.

The Taiwanese deal cements what LanzaTech has been working on since 2012, when China Steel formed a joint venture with LCY Chemical Corporation, called White Biotech, to run a demonstration plant in Kaohsiung.  China Steel produces about 10 million tonnes of crude steel annually.

The commercial facility is scheduled for construction in Q4 2015, initially set for 50,000 metric tonnes production per annum, and 100,000 eventually. The initial products are ethanol and gasoline additives. There are plans to diversify into other products later.

The cleantech company has its roots in New Zealand but in 2014 moved its headquarters to Chicago, US. LanzaTech’s current largest shareholder is Khosla Ventures which has invested around US$160 million. The New Zealand Superannuation Fund is LanzaTech’s second largest investor (with US$60 million investment). Sir Stephen Tindall’s K1W1, Qiming Venture Partners, Malaysian Life Sciences Capital Fund, Petronas, Mitsui, Primetals, and China International Capital Corp are the other investors.

Lanzatech, formed in 2005, has proprietary technology capturing carbon dioxide emitted by industries, such as steel mills, for conversion into ethanol and other high value fuels.

LanzaTech’s technology is protected by over 100-granted patents. It 2014 , LanzaTech was recognized as the top North American Company in the Cleantech 100 list, and ranked #1 Hottest Company in Bioenergy by Biofuels’ Digest.