LanzaTech secures $15 million debt financing

By Susanne Retka Schill | October 12, 2012

LanzaTech recently closed on $15 million in debt financing from Western Technology Investment. Earlier this year, LanzaTech closed a $55.8 million Series C funding round led by Malaysian Life Sciences Capital Fund, bringing the total capital raised to date to more than $100 million.

LanzaTech has developed a novel biological process of carbon capture involving proprietary biological microbes that can use a variety of waste gases as a nutrient source—including waste gases from industry, which would otherwise be flared as carbon dioxide. The process can also use syngas generated from any biomass resource, including municipal, organic industrial and agricultural wastes, as well as reformed natural gas.

The company has a 100,000 gallon-per-year demonstration facility operating in China using steel mill off gases for ethanol production. Full commercial operation is targeted for 2013. “The ethanol produced at the China steel mill has been tested and approved as fuel grade ethanol and we are currently preparing samples for additional testing,” CEO Jennifer Holmgren told Ethanol Producer Magazine. “The focus of the pre-commercial facility has been to run the process at scale and it has successfully demonstrated this to date.”

The company continues work at its Freedom Pines facility in Soperton, Ga., the former Range Fuels facility purchased at a January foreclosure sale. “We have increased our team on site and are accelerating the shakedown of the gasifier,” Holmgren said. Range Fuels was developing a cellulosic ethanol process based on Fischer-Tropsch technology and had been commissioning the facility when it ceased operations.  

The new financing for LanzaTech comes from WTI, a private investment firm based in Silicon Valley, that has provided more than $3 billion of debt and equity capital to technology and life science companies ranging from early-stage private companies to publicly-traded companies, including Facebook, Google and Juniper Networks. Their investments range from $250,000 to $30 million and are structured as fully usable, unrestricted growth capital.

"LanzaTech's team has developed an innovative approach to carbon capture and reuse that is already operating at scale," said David Wanek of WTI. "Their unique technology has the potential to have a real and significant impact on the global fuels and chemicals market. WTI is excited to be joining LanzaTech on its journey to commercialization and we look forward to great things from them."

"We are delighted to partner with WTI to accelerate our growth," Holmgren said. "WTI has an outstanding reputation and this venture debt completes our current fundraising. We will continue to invest our capital in LanzaTech's research and development program and to accelerate the commercialization of our integrated fuels and chemicals platform."