LanzaTech, with partners from The University of Michigan and Oak Ridge National Laboratory, announced today that it was awarded $4.1 Million in funding from the U.S. Department of Energy’s Advanced Research Projects Agency-Energy (ARPA-E) for its Carbon Negative Chemical Production Platform. The funding will be used to enhance existing technology to enable the direct conversion of carbon dioxide (CO2) to ethanol — a building block for low carbon intensity fuels and chemicals — at 100% efficiency and usher in a new industrial era in which recycled CO2 will be the feedstock of “carbon refineries” to create ethanol, displacing fossil fuel to make products such as household cleaners, perfumes, textiles, and packaging.
“This funding comes at a critical time when companies and government are desperately searching for solutions in reducing carbon emissions,” said Jennifer Holmgren, Chief Executive Officer of LanzaTech. “Moving to an industry based on refining CO2 rather than oil allows us to harness the very basis of the climate crisis as a climate solution. The Department of Energy (DOE) has been extremely supportive of innovation in carbon capture and circularity, and we are grateful for the DOE’s investment to get these technologies to scale.”
LanzaTech will develop a gas fermentation process that leverages affordable, renewable hydrogen (H2) to directly capture and fix CO2 into valuable fuels and chemicals while limiting emissions of CO2 into the atmosphere. The project is supported by Professor Stephen Ragsdale (U. Mich.), a world-renowned expert in biochemistry. A team led by Tim Tschaplinski at Oak Ridge National Laboratory will provide world-class capabilities and expertise in mass spectrometry-based metabolomics and proteomics.
The carbon optimized conversion technology developed under this project can be integrated with multiple CO2 sources, such as corn grain ethanol refining and direct air capture, to create a new Carbon Economy.
LanzaTech received this competitive award from ARPA-E’s Energy and Carbon Optimized Synthesis for the Bioeconomy (ECOSynBio) program, which focuses on developing advanced synthetic biology tools to engineer novel conversion platforms and systems that are more efficient and produce fewer emissions than current fermentation processes widely used in biorefining.
“I want to congratulate LanzaTech and the other projects which have been awarded funding by the Department of Energy’s Advanced Research Projects Agency-Energy. The award will specifically help LanzaTech, a woman-led small business, advance their development of innovative technologies to fight climate change,” said U.S. Representative Jan Schakowsky. “Our nation’s history is defined by discovery, ingenuity, and innovation, which leads to job growth, economic development, and technology that has the potential to improve the world. Supporting small businesses like LanzaTech and other innovators in my district and around the Chicagoland area will always be a top priority for me.”
For additional information about how the U.S. Department of Energy’s investment leads to a new carbon economy, please visit https://arpa-e.energy.gov/document/ecosynbio-project-descriptions.