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First commercial waste gas to ethanol plant starts up; ethanol produced from steel mill emissions

LanzaTech and its joint venture partner, Shougang Group, a leading Chinese iron and steel producer, announced the successful start-up of the world’s first commercial facility converting industrial emissions to sustainable ethanol. The facility, located at the Jingtang Steel Mill in Caofeidian in Hebei Province, began operations on 3 May.

LanzaTech uses anaerobic bacteria (originally found in rabbit droppings) to ferment waste emissions from industry to make fuel ethanol. This ethanol’s performance in fuel blending applications is indistinguishable from sugar-derived ethanol as it meets all specifications of ASTM International D4806, the active standard for qualifying ethanol used in blending with gasoline for automotive engines.

In addition, the ethanol meets the National Standard of the People’s Republic of China GB 18350 for Denatured fuel ethanol.

The facility has a capacity of 46,000 tons (16 million gallons) of ethanol per year.



"Sustainable" ethanol?

When it's produced from gas from coal (metallurgical coal, but still... coal)?!

Someone doesn't seem to know what "sustainable" means.  This is a way to capture some energy from a fossil-fuel waste stream and turn it into fuel (not very efficiently), no more.


This technological pathway has real value. It is myopic to just see it as a means to produce fuel.

Ethanol is a base stock for pathways such as plastics. The technology is agnostic to where you get your CO2. It may come from biological waste sources. They claim they can use methane as an input using stranded natural gas resources or waste streams of a biological nature.

If we are to use fossil fuels, this behooves us to sequester our CO2 as a future resource for the production of materials. Hydrocarbon chains need a source of carbon after all.


This scheme isn't using CO2.  It's fermenting the remnant CO and H2 in the blast-furnace gas stream; CO2 is one of its waste products.


"CO, H2 and CO2 are needed in a particular balance to maximize output" . . .

The anaerobes require these inputs, plus the heat of the flue gasses to mimic what goes on in undersea geothermal vents. This biological pathway can be paralleled by other industrial processes but at a much larger input of energy.

I say we can sequester our CO2, mix in some POX generated CO and H2 from waste methane streams, and feed this process. Depending on the flue gas mix you will get a varying volume percentage of ethanol, lactate, acetate and others.

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