Siemens & LanzaTech to Make Biofuels from Steel Industry Emissions

Siemens, which earlier this month announced it is exiting the solar industry, is focusing on its other renewables businesses, which include wind, biofuels and mass transit.

Siemens’ metal division, which serves the iron and steel industries, has signed a 10-year development and marketing agreement with LanzaTech to further its technology.

Illinois-based LanzaTech uses microbes to convert waste gases – from any source of carbon monoxide – into fuels and chemicals. The technology is considered among the most innovative in cleantech and the company has raised about $80 million in venture capital.

The iron and steel industry is one of the most polluting, responsible for 6.7% of world carbon emissions. For every metric ton of steel produced about 1.8 metric tons of carbon is emitted, which is either flared into the atmosphere or sometimes re-directed to create heat and electrical energy for the plant. Roughly 1.5 billion tons are produced each year.

Steel Industry
Virgin Airlines is also working with LanzaTech to use low carbon biofuels for aviation. Its technology holds the most promise for the airline industry.

Meanwhile, MIT researchers have developed a way to eliminate carbon emissions from steel production altogether. If the process gets scaled, the process would also cut the cost of producing steel and it would have greater purity.

The industry has been searching for a low-carbon solution but hasn’t found one. MIT’s idea arose through a NASA grant for technology that could produce oxygen on the moon. 

Read what Donald Sadoway, a professor of Materials Chemistry at MIT, came up with to produce steel with no emissions other than oxygen (it’s kind of technical): 

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