I often hear that climate change is about sea levels, and that it will make an impact in our children’s generation. But that’s just not correct. The climate change is a fundamental change to our eco system, to our way of life – and it will happen in our lifetime. So, to delay this future, we need to put ourself on a very strict carbon diet, and only use carbon when we really have to.
These are the words of Dr. Jennifer Holmgren, CEO of LanzaTech with over 20 years of experience in the energy sector including a proven track record in the development and commercialization of fuels and chemicals technologies. Dr. Holmgren has been named the number one most influential leader in the Bioeconomy and LanzaTech was named the Hottest Company in the Bioeconomy by Biofuels Digest for 2016-2017.
Aviation fuel needs carbon for decades to come. We have to reserve carbon for things where it’s really needed. Also, we need to stop take the carbon down the one-way street from the ground to the atmosphere. We need to recycle it. And that is what we do att LanzaTech. LanzaTech is commercializing a technology that captures carbon-rich emissions before they escape from the flumes of steel mills, oil refineries, and chemical plants. Then, their patented anaerobic microbes (or “bugs”) convert this waste into fuels like ethanol, most commonly used to fuel cars.
But we have learned how to convert that ethanol into jet fuel and together with Virgin Atlantic, shown that we can recycle carbon and use it to fuel aviation. We’re also learning how to convert waste gasses to chemicals, that will eventually end up in let’s say yoga pants or childrens toys. It’s about creating value from waste. But that’s just a small part of a much greater idea. Let’s say that a steal mill would make lightweight steel for parts of a plane, and then use production emissions to make fuel for that plane as well as chemicals to produce the synthetic fibers, plastics and rubbers needed for the body and cabin of the aircraft. For Jennifer and LanzaTech this is the circular economy in action: waste mitigation, resource efficiency and value add through carbon reductions. Brands that choose to bring low carbon chemicals and fuels into their supply chain, allow consumers to choose between products made from fresh fossil carbon or products made from recycled carbon. LanzaTech calll these products “Carbon Smart™” as a reflection of buyers making a choice regarding where theircarbon comes from.
All Carbon Smart™products can be further recycled using LanzaTech’s chemical recycling platform of gasification coupled with gas fermentation. This enables carbon to be infinitely recycled, locking it into the circular economy. Global energy consumption is projected to increase 48 percent by 2040. According to NASA, current carbon dioxide levels in the air are at their highest in the past 650,000 years. In the meantime, a growing demand for energy coupled with unprecedented emissions of this greenhouse gas is on the rise. LanzaTech’s ethanol offers up to a 70 percent reduction in greenhouse gas emissions compared to petroleum gasoline.
Flue stacks and carbon waste don’t have to be a liability. Pollution is a choice. We can prevent this. We can recycle this pollution to make products, cleaning up our air, and make It easier to live in this world. But we need to act now, and make sure we can recycle that carbon in an economic way.
Look at Jennifers keynote-speach at the conference ”Fossilfritt Flyg 2045” in Karlstad 26th of September. (starts at 26:38in the clip)