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Ethanol Production from Carbon Monoxide by LanzaTech

LanzaTech develops technologies to produce ethanol from carbon monoxide that is present in the low hydrogen waste gases. The technology developed by the company enables to use these gases for production of fuels and chemicals using the fermentation process.

The company’s proprietary microbes use carbon monoxide as the single source of energy and carbon for growth. Steel factories produce high volume of carbon monoxide gas. These industrial waste gases include carbon monoxide gas in elevated concentration, with little or no hydrogen.

When the carbon monoxide and hydrogen from the industrial waste gas is pumped out of the flue, it creates pollution. The LanzaTech process captures the carbon monoxide gas and uses the gas as a resource. However, the process also uses syngas as another resource. As the process is feedstock agnostic, any biomass resource such as organic industrial waste, waste wood, and municipal waste can be used as feedstock to produce syngas.

LanzaTech conducts a gasification process under which chemical bonds in the biomass are broken down. This enables a maximum 80 percent of the energy from biomass to be available for fermentation. The gases that contain carbon monoxide are scrubbed and cooled. Then, the gases are sent to a bioreactor for biofermentation. During the biofermentation process, the carbon component is used for the LanzaTech proprietary microbes as a food source. The microbes use the carbon content to produce ethanol. After the product recovery, fuel ethanol is produced.


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