The Greening of Petronas: Oil Giant Signs with LanzaTech to Turn Waste CO2 into Sustainable Chemicals
by Jim Lane (Biofuels Digest) …In Malaysia, LanzaTech and the Malaysian national oil company, Petronas, announced they will work together to accelerate the development and commercialization of technologies to produce sustainable chemicals from carbon dioxide (CO2) and natural gas.
…The good news is that, leveraging their existing reactor system and gas fermentation knowledge, LanzaTech has figured out how to ferment CO2, in the presence of hydrogen, to acetic acid.
OK, what’s the big deal, exactly? Ah, grasshopper, they’ve taken CO2 remediation out of the realm of cost-intensive sequestration and moved into a technology that provides an economic benefit. And, in this case, the CO2 is not burned for fuel, thereby re-releasing it into the atmosphere – it’s in the acetic acid, locked away in the service of green chemistry.
Back to our old friend, hydrogen
Isn’t hydrogen expensive? It surely is, if you are trying to make it. The key here is to find it. There’s plenty of hydrogen around in places like coke oven gas in steel, or in the coal industry; some chemical and mining companies have extra hydrogen- not enough to make it worthwhile to recompress, but enough to make a process like LanzaTech’s work.
…(T)he main market for acetic acid, which adds up to 9 million tons per year worth $4.5 billion. Nice,m but easily saturated.
So, on to other potential chemistry pathways. One option is to convert acetic acid to lipids – as a group at the University of Wisconsin has been demonstrating. Turns out that you can make a coconut like oil from acetric acid. That gives you a pathway to jet, diesel and gasoline – and even cosmetics and food products (as Solazyme has shown). READ MORE