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LanzaTech gas fermentation technology at core of €14.6M EU Steelanol project; 25K t/year demo plant

LanzaTech’s gas fermentation technology (earlier post) is at the core of the new Horizon2020 Steelanol project (2015-2018), which seeks to produce bioethanol via an innovative gas fermentation process using exhaust gases emitted by the steel industry. The €14.6-million (US$16.3-million) project is coordinated by steelmaker Arcelormittal Belgium NV.

Steelanol’s main objective is to demonstrate the cost-effective production of sustainable bioethanol, with the purpose of assessing the valorization of this ethanol biofuel as a fuel derivative for the transport sector. The project will build a demonstration plant of approximately 25,000 tons/ethanol per year—the first of its kind in Europe, and the largest facility globally built to date utilizing this technology.

LanzaTech’s gas fermentation process uses proprietary microbes to capture and reuse carbon-rich waste gases, reducing emissions and pollutants from industrial processes such as steel manufacturing, while making fuels and chemicals that displace those made from fossil resources. (Earlier post.) Gases from steelmaking have been a major focus. Among the milestones:

  • In 2010, LanzaTech signed a deal with Baosteel, China’s largest steel and iron conglomerate, and the Chinese Academy of Sciences (CAS) to commercialize its technologies for producing ethanol from steel mill off gases. (Earlier post.)

  • In 2011, LanzaTech began working with Harsco on a solution for steel mill waste gases. The basic concept is that CO-containing gas enters the process at the bottom of a bioreactor, and is dispersed into a liquid medium where it is consumed by LanzaTech’s proprietary microbes as the reactor contents move upward in the reactor vessel. The net product is withdrawn and sent to the product recovery section. (Earlier post.)

  • In 2012, LanzaTech and Baosteel, a leading steel producer in China, announced the success of their 100,000 gallon per year (300 tons) pre-commercial plant located at one of Baosteel’s steel mills outside Shanghai, China. (Earlier post.)

  • In November 2012, China Steel Corporation (CSC), Taiwan’s largest integrated steel maker, and LCY Chemical Corporation formed a joint venture, White Biotech (WBT), as part of a Green Energy Alliance with LanzaTech.

  • In 2013, Siemens and LanzaTech signed a 10-year co-operation agreement to develop and market integrated environmental solutions for the steel industry worldwide. (Earlier post.)

  • In April 2015 China Steel Corporation (CSC), announced formal Board approval of a 1400M TWD (US$46M) capital investment in a LanzaTech commercial ethanol facility. This follows the successful demonstration at the White Biotech (WBT) Demonstration Plant in Kaohsiung using steel mill off gases for ethanol production.

ArcelorMittal is the lead partner of the Steelanol project. The engineering work will be performed by Primetals, and E4Tech will develop the Life Cycle Assessment of the produced fuels. Several key players in the transport sector, Boeing, Virgin Atlantic, Mitsui, have expressed their strong interest and support for the project.

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