Updated on 6 September 2012
Dr Sean Simpson, who co-founded the company, says all they had were "a small laboratory and an idea as assets" to start LanzaTech. But since then, there has been no looking back. Between 2008 and 2011, LanzaTech established itself as a global player and entered into partnerships with eight Fortune 500 companies.
In 2010, LanzaTech established joint ventures with Baosteel, the second largest steel producer in the world, and Capital Steel, the fourth largest steel producer in China. The 100,000 gallon per year demonstration plant in collaboration with BaoSteel is operational and is producing ethanol. The venture with Capital Steel will be operational by the end of 2012. LanzaTech also signed an MoU with Henan Coal and Chemical Industrial for the production of fuels and chemicals from synthesis gas derived from gasification of coal.
LanzaTech will also be involved in the establishment of a bio-energy research center for the development, pilot production, and commercialization of the technology in China. The center, supported by multiple research institutes under the Chinese Academy of Sciences (CAS), will focus on developing important complementary process technologies.
LanzaTech has also signed agreements in India with Jindal Steel and Indian Oil. It has licensed its technology to Concord Enviro Systems to enable the production of power and fuel from MSW syngas. In Korea, an agreement was signed with POSCO, the third largest steel producer in the world.
In 2011, LanzaTech tied up with Virgin Atlantic to pursue a breakthrough in aviation fuel technology. In late 2011, it received a $3 million grant from the US Federal Aviation Administration for a project that would use heavy industry gases and synthesis gas derived from lignin to produce jet fuel. As part of this project, LanzaTech and its project partner will provide the US Air Force Research Laboratory with more than 100 gallons of fully synthetic jet fuel for testing. LanzaTech also has a $4 million grant from the US Department of Energy to develop routes to jet fuel from biomass, such as forestry and agricultural residues.