Microbial electrosynthesis founder to extend Innovative Carbon Capture and Reuse Platform
SKOKIE, Illinois (July 9, 2014) Dr. Derek Lovley, Distinguished Professor and Director of Environmental Biotechnology at the University of Massachusetts has joined the world class advisory board of LanzaTech, a company that has developed a novel carbon capture and reuse technology.
LanzaTech recycles carbon that would otherwise contribute to rising Green House Gases in our atmosphere. Specially adapted microbes use this carbon to make new products, including fuels and chemicals. Initially focussed on using carbon monoxide (CO) streams from industry, LanzaTech’s ‘microbe factories’ are also able to recycle carbon from carbon dioxide (CO2) gas streams, through the application of microbial electrosynthesis, as pioneered by Dr. Lovley and his team.
Electrosynthesis enables microbes to grow using CO2 and energy from renewable electricity, such as from solar power. With this technology, LanzaTech’s carbon-capturing microbes are like plants but don’t need land, fertilizer or irrigation. The microbes capture carbon from the CO2 that is so abundant today and recycle it into the products we use in daily life without impacting food or water security.
“It is a natural fit for LanzaTech’s gas eating microbes to use renewable energy for their CO2 Platform,” said Dr. Lovley. “The commercialization of this carbon reuse technology has immense potential for today’s bio-commodities market.”
“Dr. Lovley’s expertise in microbial electrosynthesis technology will play a key role in the development of our carbon recycling technology,” said Dr. Jennifer Holmgren, CEO of LanzaTech. “Being able to harness renewable and sustainable energy such as solar power to capture and reuse CO2 will enable broad deployment of the technology. Today we recycle metals, plastics and paper, so why not recycle carbon?”
LanzaTech has successfully operated two demonstration facilities in China that convert waste flue gas from Baosteel and Shougang steel plants into ethanol. Both facilities operated at annualized production capacity of 100,000 gallons. LanzaTech is currently developing commercial facilities with multiple partners, with construction expected to begin in 2014.
LanzaTech has also partnered with leaders in the chemicals, global aviation, steel, fuel and petrochemical industries such as Evonik, Invista, SK Innovation, Virgin Atlantic, Siemens Metals Technologies, Harsco, Petronas, and India’s Centre for Advanced Bio-energy as it develops competitive biobased routes to producing a range of sustainable fuels and chemicals.