Aemetis acquires license to use LanzaTech’s technology

By Ann Bailey | March 24, 2016

Aemetis Inc. has acquired the rights to LanzaTech’s patented technology to convert agricultural, forest, dairy and construction and demolition wastes to ethanol in California.  Aemetis is the first licensee of the LanzaTech technology in North America.

LanzaTech’s gas-to-ethanol technology enables Aemetis, based in Cupertino, California, to convert the locally generated California biomass wastes to advanced ethanol. Aemetis’ California plant annually produces about 20 million bushels of feedstock, mostly made up of corn and milo from the Midwest, said Eric McAfee, Aemetis chairman and CEO.

By using agricultural, forest, dairy and construction and demolition wastes, Aemetis plans to reduce feedstock costs from more than $150 a ton to receiving tipping fees for waste feedstocks. The technology enables Aemetis to produce advanced ethanol fuel valued as much as $3 per gallon more than traditional ethanol, McAfee said. The price of advanced ethanol in California (including federal, state and tax credits) is about $4.60 per gallon, compared with corn ethanol, priced at about $1.60 per gallon.

“As a leader in low carbon fuels, Aemetis is ideally positioned to demonstrate the benefits of utilizing cellulosic wastes and residues, said Jennifer Holmgren, LanzaTech, CEO. The project will leverage the existing infrastructure in a first-generation biofuel facility, which will enable the economic production of advanced biofuels, she said.

Upgrading traditional ethanol plants to produce advanced ethanol using the LanzaTech process represents a major breakthrough for the biofuels industry, allowing large-scale adoption of low cost, low carbon energy crops, agriculture waste and municipal solid waste (MSW), Holmgren said.

Ameitis’ first phase of the adoption of the LanzaTech technology will be an 8-million-gallon per year processing unit related to the Keyes plant, which under the agreement is scheduled to be built by the end of next year. The agreement provides for an expansion to a 32-million gallons per year process unit and licensees for units that would be installed at other existing ethanol plants.