LanzaTech gets $4 million for low-carbon fuel facility
Carbon recycling company LanzaTech has been selected by the US Department of Energy’s Bioenergy Technologies Office (BETO) to receive a $4 million award to design and plan a demonstration-scale facility using industrial off gases to produce 3 million gallons of low-carbon jet and diesel fuels per year.
The facility will recycle industrial waste gases from steel manufacturing to produce a low-cost ethanol intermediate ‘Lanzanol’. Both Lanzanol and cellulosic ethanol will then be converted to jet fuel via the ‘Alcohol to Jet’ (ATJ) process developed by LanzaTech and the Pacific Northwest National Laboratory (PNNL).
Suresh Baskaran, Chief Science and Technology Officer for the Energy and Environment Directorate, PNNL, commented, “The ability to produce tightly-specified aviation fuel or, alternatively, high-cetane diesel is a unique feature of this technology that will enhance its competitiveness in US as well as global markets.”
Founded in New Zealand, LanzaTech uses carbon recycling technology to capture and recycle a broad spectrum of gases for fuel and chemical production. Across the supply chain, LanzaTech promotes a ‘carbon smart’ circular economy, where both gas providers and end users can be resource-efficient by recycling or sequestering carbon into new products rather than making them from fossil reserves.
LanzaTech is already building its first commercial ethanol facilities using waste gases, including one in China with China’s largest steel company, Shougang, and one in Belgium with the world’s largest steel manufacturer, ArcelorMittal. In the Department of Energy’sfunded project, LanzaTech will work with ArcelorMittal to evaluate US opportunities for leveraging this expertise to demonstrate an entirely new pathway to low-carbon fuels from industrial wastes that are either flared or underutilized.
“Economics and sustainability are key to realising the potential of alternative aviation fuels,” said Jennifer Holmgren, LanzaTech CEO. “Jet fuel accounts for as much as 40% of an airline’s operating costs and the sector has made substantial commitments to reduce their CO emissions by 2025. So fuels must address both of these needs to succeed at commercial scale. Thanks to the Department of Energy, the partners in this project will accelerate the commercial production of low-cost, low-carbon jet, gasoline and diesel in the US.”
To demonstrate process versatility, ethanol from other waste gas streams will be converted, including cellulosic ethanol produced via fermentation of biomass syngas by Aemetis. Ambitech, an Illinois-based engineering company, will be LanzaTech’s engineering partner with additional engineering contributions from Aemetis. Other project partners include PNNL; technology providers Petron Scientech, CRI Catalyst Company, Nexceris and Gardner Denver Nash; Michigan Technological University, who will be evaluating the environmental footprint of the fuels being produced; and Audi, who will support by evaluating diesel and gasoline fuel properties. In addition, the project has received support from Airlines for America (A4A) and the Commercial Aviation Alternative Fuels Initiative (CAAFI), an aviation industry consortium focused on the near-term development and commercialization of sustainable alternative jet fuel for the aviation enterprise.