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LanzaTech strikes up another Indian partnership and gives a boost to Government’s renewable fuel mandates

It seems barely a month goes by without Kiwi cleantech company LanzaTech announcing it has made another massive stride in the commercialisation of its technology. And when John Key made a recent visit to India, the company utilised the opportunity to announce that it is in discussions with two Indian partners about collaborating to accelerate the deployment of the company’s proprietary gas fermentation technology to produce fuel ethanol from industrial off-gases. 

India’s largest commercial oil enterprise, IndianOil, together with Jindal Steel and Power Limited (JSPL) are exploring how to leverage their resources to implement a commercial scale ethanol plant using LanzaTech’s technology to process waste gases from a Jindal steel mill. The fuel ethanol produced by the plant would be blended into IndianOil’s gasoline pool. 

As well as being the country’s largest commercial oil enterprise, IndianOil is also a leading refiner marketer of petroleum products. Meanwhile, JSPL produces steel and power through backward integration from its own captive coal and iron-ore mines. 

John Key, together with Trade Minister Tim Groser, formed part of a 25-strong delegation of business people, including LanzaTech’s vice president of business development in tAsia Pacific, Prabhkar Nair. 

Nair says LanzaTech’s goals in India are to help industry in mitigating green house gas emissions and in meeting the Indian government’s criterion that new sources of renewable energy production do not compromise food or water resources. 

“LanzaTech’s process meets the Indian Government’s criterion,” he says. “This proposed collaboration between IndianOil and JSPL will not only deliver a new, indigenous resource to India’s liquid transportation fuel pool, but it will also demonstrate that India’s new energy future requires the creation of novel business partnerships.” 

LanzaTech’s potential role is particularly critical when you consider the Indian Government has a national biofuels policy to increase the use of renewable fuels produced from sustainable, non-food sources. The country's National Policy on Biofuels, approved by the Government of India late 2009, aims to increase the use of alternate renewable fuels produced from sustainable, non‐food sources, requiring oil companies to blend up to five percent ethanol with petrol. Fuel sold now requires 10 percent ethanol (E10) blended with mineral fuels, rising to 20 percent (E20) by 2017. 

Last year LanzaTech secured a deal to work with China’s largest steel and iron conglomerate, Baosteel, and the prestigious Chinese Academy of Sciences (CAS), to commercialise its fuel ethanol producing technology. Not long after, it signed a deal with China’s largest coal producers, Henan Coal and Chemical Industrial Corporation, to produce fuels and chemicals through the integration of coal gasification and LanzaTech’s biological fermentation process.

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