World’s First Commercial Waste Gas to Ethanol Plant Now in Operation
by Helena Tavares Kennedy (Biofuels Digest) … In Illinois, carbon recycling company, LanzaTech, and its joint venture partner, Shougang Group, a leading Chinese iron and steel producer, announced the successful start-up of the world’s first commercial facility converting industrial emissions to sustainable ethanol. The facility, located at the Jingtang Steel Mill in Caofeidian in Hebei Province, began operations on May 3.
LanzaTech uses anaerobic bacteria (originally found in rabbit droppings) to ferment waste emissions from industry to make fuel ethanol. This ethanol’s performance in fuel blending applications is indistinguishable from sugar-derived ethanol as it meets all specifications of ASTM International D4806, the active standard for qualifying ethanol used in blending with gasoline for automotive engines. In addition, the ethanol meets the National Standard of the People’s Republic of China GB 18350 for Denatured fuel ethanol.
With a capacity of 46,000 tons (16 million gallons) of ethanol per year, this facility will reduce carbon dioxide, particulates and other pollutants in line with China’s climate and energy goals. Ethanol can be used as a low carbon fuel and can be converted downstream to jet fuel, diesel and household products.
This isn’t the first time LanzaTech comes at the world with a first – as reported in the Digest in July 2017, they unveiled a Statement of Intent to construct the world’s first refinery off gas-to-bioethanol production facility in India with India’s flagship national oil company Indian Oil Corporation. The basic engineering for the 40 million liter per year demonstration plant will began Q4 2017 for installation at Indian Oil’s Panipat Refinery in Haryana, India. It is being integrated into existing site infrastructure and is LanzaTech’s first project capturing refinery off-gases. In fact, things are going so well there that as reported in the Digest in March 2018, Indian Oil is buying a 4% stake in LanzaTech for $20 million, in a transaction that values the #1 ranked company in the Hot 50 at $500 million.
They aren’t just taking carbon from a steel and iron producer in China and turning it into something valuable while reducing carbon pollutants from the air – they are also taking municipal solid waste and converting it into ethanol as well.
As reported in the Digest in December 2017, in Japan, Sekisui Chemical and LanzaTech, successfully demonstrated the production of ethanol from unsorted municipal solid waste — which can be used directly as a fuel or as a precursor to butadiene (a key raw material in the production of synthetic fibers and rubber), isopropanol, and isoprene — which themselves are used to make anything from tires to sneakers, cell phone covers to yoga pants.
In 2013, Sekisui launched a project with LanzaTech to find an economically viable way to recycle the carbon in garbage into useful products, such as plastics and rubber. With a pilot scale facility outside of Tokyo, Sekisui has succeeded in demonstrating stable plant operation and high ethanol yields. READ MORE