LanzaTech works with India to develop low-carbon fuels from waste CO2

US-based LanzaTech has partnered with the Centre for Advanced Bio-Energy, a joint venture between state-controlled Indian Oil and the India government's Department for Biotechnology (DBT), to create a novel process for the direct production of low-carbon fuels from industrial carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions.

This unique application of LanzaTech's gas fermentation technology will enable a new supply of biofuels, according to the company, creating economic growth and reducing CO2 emissions across India.

Project officials say they plan to leverage each other's expertise to create a new process for the direct conversion of waste CO2 into "drop-in" fuels through an acetates-to-lipids pathway.

To that end, LanzaTech has developed gas fermentation technology that can directly convert waste CO2 gases into acetates. Meanwhile, the Centre for Advanced Bio-Energy is working to increase the production yield of lipids (oils) by "feeding" acetates to microalgae. The resulting oils can then be refined into fuels using a range of existing processing technologies.

"India has made it a national priority to balance its meteoric economic growth with environmental and social sustainability," said Jennifer Holmgren, CEO of LanzaTech.

"By converting India's industrial waste CO2 emissions into low carbon fuels and chemicals, LanzaTech and the Centre can reduce overall emissions while creating a sustainable, domestic supply of transportation fuels. We look forward to extending our technology platform and our existing partnerships in India as we work with the team at the Centre on this initiative."

LanzaTech has already been working with Indian Oil to develop a domestic ethanol supply chain by leveraging LanzaTech's technology with a range of carbon-containing waste streams widely available in India, including industrial carbon monoxide (CO) emissions from steel plants.

"Any developments leading to useful conversion of carbon dioxide are most desirable," said Dr. R K Malhotra, director of R&D at Indian Oil and head of the DBT-IOC Centre.

India is projected to become the world's second largest steel producer by 2015, providing a significant opportunity to produce biofuels. LanzaTech said it estimates that hundreds of millions of gallons of ethanol could be produced annually by utilizing waste CO2 from steel mills.

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