Energy

Ancient Bacteria Convert Waste Gases to Ethanol

LanzaTech has developed a biological process in which microbes convert industrial waste gases into fuel and chemical products. The company uses an ancient strain of bacteria that evolved living around hydrothermal vents, which produce a similar concoction of gases to those from today’s industry. Through a natural fermentation process, these bacteria grow to produce bioethanol and chemical products.

Technology can change our current paradigm around the production of fuels, and the production of chemicals.”

Dr. Sean SimpsonCEO of LanzaTech

The solution mitigates carbon emissions from industry and produces low-carbon fuels without adversely impacting food production. In Shanghai, China’s largest steel conglomerate, Baosteel, and the Chinese Academy of Sciences have constructed a plant using LanzaTech’s gas fermentation technology for the production of fuel ethanol from steel mill waste gases.

Why you should care

Producing first generation biofuels often involved using land that would have otherwise been used for crops. It has been estimated that using US croplands for biofuels actually increased greenhouse gases through emissions associated with land use change. Producing advanced biofuels using the LanzaTech process does not require extra land or feed.

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