Technical Overview

LanzaTech’s process involves biological conversion of carbon to products through gas fermentation. Using microbes that grow on gases (rather than sugars, as in traditional fermentation), carbon-rich waste gases and residues are transformed into useful liquid commodities, used in everyday applications, providing a novel approach to carbon capture and reuse.

The LanzaTech Process Video

Ancient Life to Sustain Future Progress

LanzaTech’s proprietary microbe is a naturally-occurring organism in the family of acetogens, or gas-fermenting organisms. They represent one of the earliest life forms and utilize only gases for their entire life cycle. LanzaTech was founded to take advantage of these organisms to reduce carbon emissions and produce sustainable biofuels.

As can be seen in the timeline below, the biology used by acetogens is ancient, predating that of cyanobacteria or algae.

The natural biology of these microbes allows them to grow using the gas emissions from hydrothermal vents. The process involved is hypothesized to be one of the oldest biological reactions on earth. Ethanol is produced naturally as a part of this process.

Emissions from many industries, including steel manufacturing, are very similar to the gases produced by hydrothermal vents that acetogens grow on in nature.

Gas from both hydrothermal vents and steel manufacture include:

  • Carbon monoxide (CO)
  • Hydrogen (H2)
  • Carbon dioxide (CO2)
  • Hydrogen sulphide (H2S)
  • Methane (CH4)

Gas Fermentation

The core of the LanzaTech technology is gas fermentation – based on this ancient microbial process that evolved so long ago. LanzaTech microbes grow on gases (rather than sugars, as in traditional fermentation). During gas fermentation, carbon-rich industrial gases such as residues produced during steel manufacture, are transformed into commodity fuel and chemical products in a continuous process, providing a novel approach to carbon capture and reuse.