Completing the Cycle: Capturing Gaseous Waste Carbon As Fuel/Chemicals

Sustainable Engineering Forum
2011 AIChE Annual Meeting
AIChE Annual Meeting
October 17, 2011 - 8:00pm

The world currently faces an enormous energy challenge. LanzaTech responds to this challenge by capturing and beneficially reusing waste carbon to make low carbon fuels and chemicals. The International Energy Outlook, in its 2010 reference case, projects that world primary energy consumption will increase by 49 percent (1.4 percent per year) from 495 quadrillion Btu in 2007 to 739 quadrillion Btu in 2035.1 In order to meet this challenge, LanzaTech provides a technology solution to improve process energy efficiency while simultaneously reducing greenhouse gas emissions.

Through gas fermentation, LanzaTech transforms waste into resources. Industrial waste gases or low value byproducts become the inputs for making valuable low-carbon fuels and chemicals. Industrial and chemical processes produce off-gases containing carbon monoxide and/or carbon dioxide that are either vented to the atmosphere, flared, or burned as fuel; a sub-optimal use of the carbon and energy contained in these off-gases. The LanzaTech process captures these waste gases with renewable resources and transforms them into energy rich fuels or chemicals such as ethanol, acetic acid, or 2,3-butanediol, among others. The LanzaTech process offers superior carbon conversion, energy efficiency, and greenhouse gas emission performance compared to conventional and emerging routes to the same products.

The LanzaTech gas fermentation process is described including potential applications in chemical, petrochemical, refinery, gas-to-liquids, and industrial plants (such as coal and steel). Key technology characteristics including gas conditioning, bioreactor design, and fermentation expertise are highlighted to demonstrate how the LanzaTech process can integrate with a wide range of industrial processes. An additional benefit of the LanzaTech process is the carbon capture efficiency illustrated in a life cycle analysis comparing LanzaTech’s route to ethanol with conventional production of gasoline and corn ethanol.

[1]"IEA - 2010 International Energy Outlook - World Energy Demand and Economic Outlook." (accessed February 24, 2011).

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