India: Capturing carbon to feed the world

LanzaTech process at IOC-DBT Centre to produce omega-3 fatty acids and lipids

Chicago, Illinois (November 3, 2014) LanzaTech, the revolutionary carbon recycling company, together with a research team from the IOC-DBT Center for Advanced Bio-Energy Research (an entity co-funded by India’s Department of Biotechnology and Indian Oil Corporation Limited) have developed a remarkable process that recycles CO2 emissions into omega-3 rich fatty acids.

Essential nutrients, omega-3 oils, cannot be synthesized by the human body, and instead must be consumed via the diet, most commonly from eating oily fish. Like humans, however, fish are unable to synthesize omega-3 fatty acids, and must source them through their diet as well. To keep up with global demand, fish farms (or aquaculture) use huge quantities of wild fish as feed, contributing to an overfishing crisis and threatening global food security.

LanzaTech offers a sustainable alternative.

Recycling carbon dioxide (CO2) gases as the sole carbon source for continuous gas fermentation, LanzaTech’s microbes produce acetate that is then consumed as energy and carbon by a proprietary algae developed by the team at IOC-DBT. These algae are rich in omega-3 fatty acids and can be utilized as an omega-3 rich fish meal substitute, or the algal oil can be extracted and purified as an independent omega-3 lipid product.

“LanzaTech and the team from IOC-DBT have demonstrated the tremendous potential of carbon recycling,” LanzaTech CEO Dr. Jennifer Holmgren says. “A platform that can produce sustainable food and fuels economically and at scale turns the issue of food vs fuels on its head. LanzaTech has long focused on increasing energy access and today we are a step closer to increasing access to affordable nutrition for all.”

Dr. D K Tuli, Executive Director and Centre Coordinator of IOC-DBT centre says “Both IOC-DBT and LanzaTech have demonstrated the integration of IOC and LanzaTech process at bench scale at IOC-DBT Centre to produce omega-3 fatty acids (mainly DHA) and lipids. Co-production of lipids can make algal oil economically feasible. A continuous pilot plant facility shall be set up at IOC (R&D) next year which shall integrate both the processes resulting in creation of a disruptive technology. This project can be a game changer for production of omega-3 fatty acids and oil from algae in an economically viable method.”

The process closely parallels LanzaTech’s demonstrated waste gas to fuels technology, allowing LanzaTech to leverage its experience to rapidly commercialize the process.

LanzaTech has successfully operated two 100,000 gallons per annum demonstration facilities in China that convert waste flue gas from Baosteel and Shougang steel plants into ethanol. LanzaTech is currently developing larger-scale commercial facilities with construction expected to begin later this year.


About LanzaTech

LanzaTech is the global leader in gas fermentation technology and provides novel and economic routes to fuels and high-value chemicals from waste carbon streams. By leveraging waste resources, LanzaTech’s solutions mitigate carbon emissions from industry without adversely impacting food or land security. LanzaTech’s unique process, certified by the Roundtable on Sustainable Biomaterials and currently protected by 100 granted patents, produces sustainable fuels and platform chemicals that serve as building blocks for everyday products such as rubber and plastics. Founded in New Zealand, LanzaTech has raised more than $160 million from investors such as Khosla Ventures, K1W1, Qiming Venture Partners, Malaysian Life Sciences Capital Fund, Petronas, Mitsui, Siemens and China International Capital Corp.


The IOC-DBT Centre for Advanced Bioenergy Research is jointly funded by Department of Biotechnology, Government of India and Indian Oil Corporation Limited. The Centre is committed to advanced Bioenergy research addressing second and third generation biofuels. The major thrust of the centre is to develop and deploy viable 2nd generation biofuel technologies. The major objective of this centre is to leverage the commercial strength of IOC for commercialization of advanced bio-fuel technologies.

Source: LanzaTech, press release, 2014-11-04.