At the beginning of September 2010, LanzaTech and Henan Coal and Chemical Industrial Corporation (HNCC) signed a deal in Zhenzhou, China, regarding the use of coal to produce ethanol fuels and chemical products.
Coal gasification and LanzaTech’s biological fermentation process will be used to produce 2,3-Butanediol (2,3-BD) – a key building block in the production of polymers, plastics and hydrocarbon fuels.
Coal derived syngas is rich in carbon monoxide and hydrogen. The Lanzatech microbe uses this gas as its sole source of carbon and energy for fuel and chemical production.
Sugar or petroleum are normally needed for the production of 2,3-BD and so the use of coal by-products leaves high value food and fuel alone.
2,3-BD can be readily converted to intermediaries such as butenes, butadiene and methyl ethyl ketone that are used in the production of hydrocarbon fuels and a variety of chemicals including polymers, synthetic rubbers, plastics and textiles.
The memorandum of understanding between the two companies was signed during a ceremony held in the capital of Henan province, Zhengzhou. The deputy secretary general of the Communist Party of CAS Ms Fang Xin and the Vice-Governor of Henan Province Mr Xu Jichao were both in attendance.
A separate three way letter of intent was also signed, regarding the establishment of a Bio Energy Research Centre for the development, pilot production and commercialization of the technology to change coal derived synthesis gas to ethanol fuels and chemicals.
Dr Jennifer Holmgren, LanzaTech’s CEO, said the Henan MOU demonstrates the continued commitment of China to the development and usage of clean energy:
“Our partnership with Henan Coal and Chemical and the Chinese Academy of Sciences will help reduce the CO2 footprint of China’s coal industry.”
Based in China’s largest province, Henan, Henan Coal and Chemical Industrial Corporation holds a diverse portfolio including coal, chemical and non ferrous metal industries. It is the biggest company converting coal to syngas in Asia.