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LanzaTech chalks up another joint venture

LanzaTech is practically synonymous with 'cleantech' in many circles, with numerous awards and commercial partnerships under its belt. And the Kiwi-founded company, now based in Illinois, has signed a joint development agreement with nylon producer Invista to develop technology that converts carbon monoxide into butadiene.

LanzaTech is practically synonymous with 'cleantech' in many circles, with numerous awards and commercial partnerships under its belt. And the Kiwi-founded company, now based in Illinois, has signed a joint development agreement with nylon producer Invista to develop technology that converts carbon monoxide into butadiene.

Butadiene is a chemical used in the production of synthetic rubber and various plastics. The collaboration will initially focus on the production of butadiene in a two-step process. A direct single step process will also be developed to produce butadiene directly through a process of gas fermentation.

Initial commercialisation is expected in 2016, according to a statement issued by LanzaTech.

According to the agreement, they will also collaborate on the joint development of tools that will extend technology for the direct production of other industrial chemicals – including nylon intermediates – from carbon monoxide containing waste gases, using LanzaTech’s gas fermentation technology and proprietary biochemical platform.

“We believe developing a cost competitive biological route to butadiene will help assure ample supply and reduce price volatility,” said Bill Greenfield, executive vice president of Invista’s nylon intermediates business.  “We believe this collaboration effort is a great opportunity to leverage our own internal biotechnical research with the unique and impressive capabilities that LanzaTech has developed.”

According to LanzaTech chief executive Jennifer Holmgren, the deal is  an important next step toward achieving its vision of a "diversified fuels and chemical portfolio".

"Joining forces with Invista’s world-class research team will enable us to accelerate the commercialization of a biological route to butadiene, further demonstrating that gas fermentation is an important route for the production of both fuels and chemicals.”

LanzaTech’s pilot facility at a steel mill in New Zealand produces ethanol from waste carbon monoxide gas and in Shanghai, it is producing ethanol from waste gases at a Baosteel steel mill.