July 13, 2010 Sean McWard

Global Investment in CleanTech sees LanzaTech Riding High.

Auckland, July 13th 2010-New Zealand-based LanzaTech, a company pursuing the conversion of industrial waste gases into fuels and chemicals using bacteria, today officially announced a $18M USD Series B financing, led by Qiming Ventures, a well known China focused venture capital firm.
Gary Rieschel, Founder and Managing Director of Qiming said, “LanzaTech represents a great opportunity for China. The significance of its technology means that fuel can be produced with no impact on food supply or land use. Using industrial waste gases curbs GHG emissions and so maintains manufacturing sustainability in China.”

Qiming Ventures was joined by Softbank China Venture Capital and two existing investors from the Series A round, Khosla Ventures in the USA and New Zealand based K1W1.

Vinod Khosla, an existing investor from the Series A round said, “LanzaTech has demonstrated a process that allows the use of a broad spectrum of waste gas resources. Non food resources such as industrial waste gas, syngas from biomass and reformed natural gas can become a resource for high volume fuels and plastics.  It is exciting, how some imagination and creativity can take a wide variety of industrial off gases and potentially other pollution and efficiently turn it into high value biofuels and bio chemicals.  ”

Since the Series A funding in 2007, LanzaTech has proven its process using unconditioned ‘dirty’ gas streams directly from a NZ Steel mill in Auckland to make fuel ethanol.

Dr Sean Simpson, co founder of LanzaTech says that the funding will enable LanzaTech to further accelerate commercialization of its process. “We plan to have a pre-commercial plant operational in 2011 with plans to quickly scale to a commercial facility producing over 200 million liters of ethanol per year, “said Dr Simpson. The funding will also see expansion of the company’s focus to include the use of CO2 as a feedstock gas.

The company estimates that its bacteria-based approach could produce over 120 billion litres of ethanol per year using existing steel mill gases alone. The LanzaTech process can therefore have a material impact on reducing our dependence on fossil derived fuels. As the process is extensible beyond the steel industry, this 120 billion litres is the lower bound of the potential impact that the LanzaTech technology could have.