Siemens to Develop Ethanol From Steel-Mill Gases With LanzaTech

Siemens AG, Europe’s largest maker of power equipment, agreed to develop systems that convert waste industrial gases into fuel using technology from LanzaTech NZ Ltd.

Siemens’s Metals Technologies unit will collaborate with LanzaTech for 10 years to commercialize and market systems for the steel industry, the two companies said today in a joint statement.

LanzaTech’s fermentation process turns carbon monoxide and carbon dioxide from steel mills into fuels and chemicals. Steel and iron manufacturing produces 6.7 percent of global CO2 emissions, and turning the gas into fuel may help steel mills lower operating costs and comply with government requirements aimed at curbing climate change, according to the statement.

Siemens has “developed a lot of the technologies that are used in steel mills,” Jennifer Holmgren, chief executive officer of Auckland, New Zealand-based LanzaTech said in an interview today. The German company will help design new mills that integrate LanzaTech’s process from the beginning or assist with incorporating it into existing ones.

LanzaTech developed microorganisms that consume waste gases to produce fuel and chemicals. Steel mills typically flare the byproduct gas or use it to produce heat and electricity for industrial processes.

LanzaTech completed two “pre-commercial” plants last year at steel mills owned by the Chinese producers Shanghai Baosteel Group Corp. and Shougang Group. The sites each have ethanol production capacity of 300 tons a year. Holmgren expects the steelmakers to begin construction this year on larger facilities that will begin production in 2014.

Siemens and LanzaTech are “already pursuing several commercial gas fermentation project opportunities around the world,” the companies said in the statement.

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