Two staff members of a New Zealand biotech firm were named among the world's "Top 100 People in Bioenergy" in an annual list published on a United States website yesterday.

The pair work for Auckland's LanzaTech, which has developed a patented microbe that can make biofuel from waste gases produced in industrial processes.

Co-founder and chief scientist Sean Simpson, and chief executive Jennifer Holmgren, were both placed at number 38 on the list published by biofuelsdigest.com.

United States Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack topped the list, followed closely by a number of Brazilian bio-energy leaders at UNICA, Cosan and Petrobas.

"Biofuels Digest is probably the leading website for the whole industry ... you look there for comment on everything from international policy to technical progress and commercial announcements," Simpson said.

He said it was a good opportunity for LanzaTech to gain global exposure.

Last month LanzaTech signed a memorandum of understanding with the Henan Coal and Chemical Industrial Corp, a China Fortune 500 company, to produce ethanol and other chemicals at a Chinese site using its fermentation process.