LanzaTech: Transforming the carbon economy
LanzaTech and Alicat are transforming the way that the world sources and reuses its carbon. LanzaTech’s proprietary process captures and converts carbon emissions on a large scale that would otherwise be released into the atmosphere as CO or CO2 by converting them into ethanol and other chemicals through fermentation using bacteria. This ethanol, or Lanzanol, is then developed into various everyday CarbonSmart products and chemicals which are now being sold around the world, not-limited-to but including:
- Polyester fabrics
- Jet fuels
- Carbon-negative shoes
- Dishwashing liquids
- Hand sanitizers
- Carbon-negative fragrances
- Medical devices
The LanzaTech post-pollution future
Innovating carbon capture with over 1000 patents, LanzaTech has partnered with companies such as Zara, Coty, Brookfield, Bridgestone, On, Giuvadan, and more to develop a closed loop, circular carbon economy. In this economy, different feedstocks including agricultural and household wastes can be continuously reused to produce valuable fuels and products at a 100% conversion rate. Instead of contributing to global warming, carbon emissions are massively reduced.
Description of the LanzaTech post-pollution process:
- Carbon emission gases such as CO and CO2 from refining, chemical, agricultural, oil, gas, and steel industry commercial plants are captured.
- Gas contaminates are filtered and gases are compressed.
- The captured carbon gases are flowed into LanzaTech reactors, where microbes convert the gases to valuable chemicals such as ethanol, acetone, or IPA through a fermentation process much like that of beer or wine.
- Valuable chemicals and their co-products are removed from the remaining fermentation inputs inside of hybrid separation systems, purifying the valuable chemicals. Water is recycled back to the LanzaTech fermenters for reuse.
- The valuable chemical products and co-products are then collected and used or exported in various industrial and fuel processes, such as making the many CarbonSmart products previously mentioned.
Alicat flow control in LanzaTech reactors
Alicat’s mass flow controllers are critical to test and scale LanzaTech’s bioreactor fermentation systems in their main research labs located in Skokie, Illinois. LanzaTech’s bioreactors depend on reliable, accurate, repeatable gas flow control to deliver controllable ratios of gases. As a result, LanzaTech’s geneticists rely on Alicat’s devices to precisely control genetically altered bacteria growing environments, ensuring that various fermentation processes can be developed with repeatability and scalability in mind.
Alicat’s MC-Series mass flow controllers are ideal for LanzaTech’s research and development because of specifications and features such as:
- Accurate flow rates up to ±0.5% of reading or ±0.1% of full scale, whichever is greater and a control range of 0.01-100% for testing various LanzaTech research bioreactors.
- Versatile gas compatibility and custom gas mixture calibrations enable LanzaTech to use one Alicat controller to flow a variety of bioreactor gases.
- High turndown/control ratios of 10,000:1 allow Alicat’s mass flow controllers to be placed in various steps of LanzaTech’s carbon capture and conversion process.
- Constant temperature, pressure, volumetric flow, and mass flow multivariable measurements limit the need to purchase and use additional meters.
- Repeatability (2σ) up to just ±0.1% of reading + 0.02% of full scale ensures consistent and repeatable LanzaTech bioreactor processes that can be dependably scaled as needed.
- Customization options for food/bio-graded, USP Class VI elastomers, 316L stainless steel flow bodies, IP66 ingress ratings, and ATEX C1D2 ratings to ensure regulatory compatibility for LanzaTech’s bioreactors.
- Various communication options for closed-loop, automated process control using either PLCs or computers.
LanzaTech’s groundbreaking results and future plans
LanzaTech has accomplished impressive results in its 15 year history with the help of Alicat devices as important testing and research components. Scaling its groundbreaking, internationally-located, carbon capture use storage (CCUS) system which has already saved over 150,000 metric tons of CO2 from release into the atmosphere and has produced over 30 million gallons of ethanol, LanzaTech was named the overall winner at the Independent Commodity Intelligence services (ICIS) 2021 awards and winner of the 2021 Edison Award.
Having already opened 2 commercial plants with 7 more opening in 2022, LanzaTech is setting its sights on achieving a larger, cleaner, internationally established, circular carbon economy to reduce global warming’s effect on our planet.