« DOE EERE seeking input on commercialization of energy efficiency and renewable energy technologies | Main | Pinto Energy to build 2,800 bpd small-scale GTL plant in Ashtabula; Velocys microchannel technology »
$4M ARPA-E award to Lanzatech to improve design of bioreactors for waste-gas-to-fuels fermentation technology
23 September 2013
LanzaTech, a producer of low-carbon fuels and chemicals from waste gases, was awarded a $4-million grant by the Advanced Research Projects Agency-Energy (ARPA-E) as one of the 15 REMOTE projects (earlier post) receiving a combined $34 million to find advanced biocatalyst technologies that can convert natural gas to liquid fuel for transportation.
LanzaTech and its partners, The City College of New York (CUNY), Louisiana State University (LSU) and Michigan Technological University (Michigan Tech) will collaborate to extend LanzaTech’s core fermentation technology to unlock the potential of waste methane gases through novel and smaller-scale bioreactor design. The project will combine LanzaTech’s expertise in gas fermentation and reactor design with experimental reactor design expertise at the CUNY Energy Institute, and reactor modeling capabilities at LSU. LanzaTech and Michigan Tech will validate the economic and life cycle analysis impacts of this innovative technology as compared to the current state of the art.
LanzaTech uses a novel biological fermentation process to transform carbon-rich wastes and residues from industrial sources into low carbon fuels and chemicals. Methane is well-suited for LanzaTech’s fermentation technology.
The focus for the grant is on reducing waste methane emissions from remote oil wells, coal seam and coal mine gases as well as landfill biogas often located in remote areas or released in relatively low volumes making them uneconomical to convert into other products. As such, many of these sources are simply flared, emitted or vented, resulting in significant greenhouse gas emissions. Methane has a global warming potential 21 times as high as carbon dioxide (CO2).
The goal of the research is to increase the throughput, or intensity, of the LanzaTech bioreactor so that it can produce fuels and chemicals more efficiently, economically and at a smaller scale. Doing so will enable the reuse of waste methane gases for low carbon fuels and chemicals.
The new design will also allow the technology to be applied to other carbon-rich waste resources containing carbon monoxide (CO), carbon dioxide (CO2) and hydrogen (H2), further extending the ability to reduce and reuse emissions from a broader range of industries.
This grant is an exciting opportunity for LanzaTech and our partners to find new and sustainable uses for remote or otherwise uneconomical sources of waste methane, one of the most prolific of the greenhouse gases. Extending our platform technology to other waste carbon sources extends the availability of low cost carbon to make the fuels and other products we rely on. Creating an efficient way to use these wastes will enable more people to have access to sustainable clean energy while reducing the need for new fossil energy sources.—Dr. Jennifer Holmgren, CEO of LanzaTech
LanzaTech is the first company to scale gas fermentation technology to a pre-commercial level, developing and successfully operating two facilities that convert waste flue gas from Baosteel and Shougang steel plants into ethanol. Both facilities in China operated at annualized production capacity of 100,000 gallons. Site location and engineering plans for two full commercial facilities are under way and commercial production is expected to begin in 2014.
TrackBack URL for this entry:
Listed below are links to weblogs that reference $4M ARPA-E award to Lanzatech to improve design of bioreactors for waste-gas-to-fuels fermentation technology: