LanzaTech Produces 2,3-Butanediol from Waste Gases; Building Block for Polymers, Plastics and Hydrocarbon Fuels
New Zealand-based LanzaTech has successfully produced 2,3-Butanediol (2,3-BD), a key building block used to make polymers, plastics and hydrocarbon fuels, using the company’s gas fermentation technology. LanzaTech CEO Dr. Jennifer Holmgren says the company is the first to demonstrate that this platform chemical can be produced via fermentation from gases. LanzaTech has shown 2,3-BD production from waste gas resources in an industrial setting.
2,3-BD can be readily converted to intermediaries like butenes, butadiene and methyl ethyl ketone that are used in the production of hydrocarbon fuels and a variety of chemicals including polymers, synthetic rubbers, plastics and textiles.
LanzaTech’s microbial gas fermentation process potentially enables chemicals production to be decoupled from petroleum and valuable food resources. Conventional approaches for the production of polymers and plastics require chemical building blocks normally prepared from the cracking of petroleum or through fermentation of sugars. However, LanzaTech’s process uses nonfood, low-value gas feed stocks, including industrial waste gases such as those produced by steel mills, oil refineries, coal manufacturing, syngas from landfill-waste and reformed natural gas.
LanzaTech is now able to offer an integrated waste gas to fuels and chemicals technology that is both economically and environmentally sound. Commercial viability of novel routes requires the integration of diverse approaches. This development means our process can deliver considerable financial returns from the sale of high value products while curbing industrial greenhouse gas emissions.
(LanzaTech CEO Dr. Holmgren was formerly VP/GM Renewable Energy and Chemicals at UOP, a Honeywell Company, where she was responsible for UOP’s renewables business,including the production of renewable hydrocarbon fuels. Holmgren joined LanzaTech in June.)
LanzaTech was founded in early 2005 to develop and commercialize proprietary technologies for the production of lowest cost fuel ethanol from gases produced by the steel industry. LanzaTech has expanded the focus of its process development program to include other industrial off gases and synthesis gas from gasification.
In July, LanzaTech attracted US$18 million in Series B financing from investors led by China-focused venture capital firm Qiming Ventures. (Earlier post.)