387407 Scale-up and Commercialization of a Novel Gas Fermentation Process for the Production of Fuels and Chemicals

Monday, November 17, 2014: 12:55 PM
302 (Hilton Atlanta)
Derek W. Griffin, LanzaTech, Inc., Roselle, IL

The ever increasing demand for renewable feedstock-based fuels and chemicals is driving the development of new technologies and processes. An entire industry is emerging to meet the demands for renewable energy with a significant portion of these new technologies based on microbial conversion processes. The challenge these new processes face is that they have to compete with the scale and/or economics of conventional petroleum derived fuel and chemical processes. To compete on a plant footprint and capital basis, many of these bio-technologies are developing continuous operations for processes that are conventionally operated in batch-mode, such as fermentations. The rising field of renewable biotechnology not only faces the challenges of developing processes for new reactions and products, but also designing and scaling-up novel processes to compete with incumbent fossil-based industries.

One such emerging biotechnology offering is gas fermentation which is an innovative hybrid thermochemical/biochemical process that converts gaseous carbon to fuels and chemicals through a microbial conversion process. The field of gas fermentation represents a transformative technology offering that could reduce emissions while producing fuels and chemicals from a renewable microbial source. The gas feedstock can come from a variety of sources including gaseous carbon residue from industrial processes or from thermochemical processes such as gasification of biomass/MSW or reformed natural gas. The main feedstocks are CO, H2, and/or CO2 which face the challenge of poor water solubility thus requiring high mass transfer multi-phase bioreactors. Along with the design and scale-up challenges of a novel biotechnology, innovative bioreactor concepts are also required for the successful deployment of high productivity continuous processes.

The LanzaTech’s integrated thermochemical/biochemical gas fermentation process is described including the scale-up path from lab to pilot to pre-commercial demonstration. Various pilot and demonstration activities are described highlighting the design and scale-up challenges faced to date. The LanzaTech technology can integrate with a number of various industrial processes which presents additional challenges designing for the integration of a gas fermentation process with commercially established industrial processes. Successful scale-up activities and operations are presented to demonstrate the design and scale-up of this innovative biotechnology.

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