Connect with us

Hi, what are you looking for?



New Zealand's LanzaTech Makes Plastic from Waste Gas

New Zealand company LanzaTech makes plastics and fuel products from industrial waste gassesThe New Zealand-based clean tech company LanzaTech has just announced a successful run of its new technology for reclaiming industrial waste gasses to produce 2,3 Butanediol, a foundational chemical from which spring a variety of products including fuels and even plastics.


If LanzaTech’s technology proves successful on a commercial scale, it provides yet another pathway for the world to continue manufacturing products, including energy products, without continuing the high-risk harvesting of fossil fuels that has wrecked so many local economies. It also provides another alternative for producing plastics and fuels without using food crops or taking land out of food crop production.

LanzaTech and Reclaiming Waste Gas for Renewable Ethanol

Last year, LanzaTech announced that it developed a proprietary microbe that digests carbon monoxide in the waste gas from steel mills, converting it to pure ethanol. The process is based on fermentation, and it turns out that waste gas from steel mills is an ideal medium because it has a high concentration of carbon monoxide, with little or no hydrogen.  You would think that nothing – not even a microbe – could survive in that toxic stew, but LanzaTech scientists found that certain microbes actually thrive under those conditions.  The finding represented a giant step toward developing a commercially viable process for reclaiming waste gas, because it eliminated the need for investing in the expensive equipment that would otherwise be needed to precondition the gas for microbial life.

Plastic from Waste Gas

Petroleum based plastics are made by cracking petroleum, and bio-based plastics are made by fermenting sugars from plants.  In contrast, LanzaTech’s process reclaims an industrial byproduct that would otherwise go to waste. The chemical 2,3-BD can be converted through simple processes into butenes, butadiene and methyl ethyl ketone. These substances, in turn, are the building blocks for producing synthetic rubbers, plastic, textiles and other products.

Image: Smokestacks by otodo on

Don't want to miss a cleantech story? Sign up for daily news updates from CleanTechnica on email. Or follow us on Google News!

Have a tip for CleanTechnica, want to advertise, or want to suggest a guest for our CleanTech Talk podcast? Contact us here.

Written By

Tina specializes in military and corporate sustainability, advanced technology, emerging materials, biofuels, and water and wastewater issues. Views expressed are her own. Follow her on Twitter @TinaMCasey and Google+.


You May Also Like

Fossil Fuels

“Billions of pounds of plastic cover 40% of our ocean surfaces and we contribute to that,” said Council Member Erik Bottcher. “That’s why I’m...

Clean Power

As the Russian Baltic Fleet rattles its sword, renewable energy stakeholders in Sweden and elsewhere are eyeballing Baltic Sea offshore wind for a foothold...

Policy & Politics

Ocean Conservancy scientists estimate that newly passed California law will eliminate 23 million tons of plastics in the next 10 years — equivalent to...

Fossil Fuels

Can we legislate our way out of the plastic environmental catastrophe?

Copyright © 2023 CleanTechnica. The content produced by this site is for entertainment purposes only. Opinions and comments published on this site may not be sanctioned by and do not necessarily represent the views of CleanTechnica, its owners, sponsors, affiliates, or subsidiaries.