New Zealand's pioneering biofuel company LanzaTech is to work with the US Department of Energy.

New Zealand’s pioneering biofuel company LanzaTech is to work with the US Department of Energy.

The company announced today it will work with America’s Pacific Northwest National Laboratory (PNNL) on converting some of LanzaTech’s products to “drop in” jet fuel. Drop in means the products can be blended into other fuels and then used in existing jet engines rather than needing a new type of engine to run on.

Lanzatech’s clean energy technology can produce 2,3-Butanediol (2,3-BD), an oxygenate which can be used to make hydrocarbon fuels and high value chemicals. Hydrocarbons are true drop in fuels that can replace diesel, jet fuel and gasoline.

Drop in fuel is a key enabler in the biofuel industry, says LanzaTech’s chief executive Dr Jennifer Holmgren.

“The US has spent billions on its existing petroleum infrastructure and to redesign airline jet engines costs in the realm of hundreds of millions of dollars,” Dr Holmgren said.

“The biofuels that will succeed must be compatible with existing engines, pipelines and refineries. LanzaTech’s integration of the fuels and chemicals value chain enables economic viability, as well as being environmentally sound.”

The cooperative research and development agreement (CRADA) between LanzaTech and PNNL has been given final approval by the United States Department of Energy (DOE).

The first phase of the CRDA work will be done over one year, with the DOE funding PNNL and LanzaTech making an “in-kind” contribution.

LanzaTech was founded in early 2005 to develop and commercialise proprietary technologies for ethanol from gases produced by the steel industry.