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Yesterday New Zealand, today and tomorrow the world ... literally, for clean technology company


The Auckland-based firm, which uses proprietary bacteria and fermentation to produce useful products such as ethanol from industrial gas waste streams, is on a heck of a roll.


Having tested and partly scaled up its laboratory methodology at the Glenbrook Steel Mill, the venture-capital backed company (including USA-based Khosla Ventures) doesn't seem to be able to stop signing deals.

It has just put pen to a memorandum of understanding with

to evaluate the technology to produce ethanol at one of its refineries. IndianOil sells almost half of the subcontinent's petrol, and last year was ranked 125 in Fortune's Global 500.

In the middle half of last year LanzaTech signed key technology development partnership deals with China's Baosteel, Henan Coal and Chemical Industrial Corporation and the Chinese Academy of Sciences.

India's crude oil imports are soon expected to be more than 80 per cent of its total needs, and the nation's biofuels policy is to increase the use of alternate renewable fuels from sustainable, non-food sources. The law new requires oil companies to blend petrol with up to 5 per cent ethanol.

LanzaTech has been increasing the products produced by its specially-selected (and patented) bacteria, using smoke-stack waste gas streams as a source stock.

It recently announced the bacterial production of 2,3-Butanediol (2,3-BD), a key building block in polymer, plastics and hydrocarbon production.

Late last year LanzaTech and its senior management were ranked as one of the globe's top 100 clean tech companies.


The company's on a rapid growth path, ticking all the boxes that venture capitalists (among others) love to see in estimating future earnings potential.

The waste gas streams that its technology utilises would otherwise be a pollutant, and increasingly governments around the world are legislating (and offering incentives for) clean tech solutions, particularly from non-food based resources.

Just as importantly, there's huge scale in the world's clean energy requirements, and there's no shortage of industrial waste gas streams (i.e. 'smoke stacks') for it to, almost literally, plug its technology into.

The recent LanzaTech deals won't be the last.

Watch this space.

If they're not already the darlings of all who like their energy clean and strongly green-tinged, they soon will be.

Peter Kerr is a journalist, writer and consultant in the innovation space. View his work and that of 35 other scientists and science writers at Sciblogs, New Zealand's largest science blogging network.