Two of the six winners of the 20th Annual Presidential Green Chemistry Challenge Awards—LanzaTech and Algenol—have active projects with the U.S. Department of Energy’s Bioenergy Technologies Office (BETO). The awards are sponsored by the Environmental Protection Agency’s Office of Chemical Safety and Pollution Prevention and the National Academy of Sciences, and recognize outstanding chemical technologies that promote environmental and economic benefits using green chemistry. The 2015 awards ceremony was held on July 13, 2015, and hosted by the National Academy of Sciences. A panel of American Chemical Society Green Chemistry Institute® experts selected the winners for their incorporation of green chemistry principals into chemical design, manufacturing, and use.
- LanzaTech, based in Illinois, was honored with the Greener Synthetic Pathways Award for its gas fermentation process, which harnesses waste carbon gas to produce fuels and chemicals. Using proprietary microbes and enzyme catalysis, the process produces high yields of ethanol and commodity chemicals like 2,3-butanediol from industrial gases that would otherwise be vented or flared. BETO is working with LanzaTech and Pacific Northwest National Laboratory on hybrid catalytic conversion of biomass syngas to ethanol.
- Algenol, based in Florida, received the inaugural “Specific Environmental Benefit: Climate Change Award” for developing ethanol and green crude oil-producing cyanobacteria that can convert more than 80% of carbon captured into ethanol through photosynthesis. The resulting overall process considerably reduces carbon emissions, water usage, and costs. Through BETO, Algenol received $25 million in cost-shared American Reinvestment and Recovery Act funding, which helped the company to successfully scale up its technologies from the lab bench to a pilot plant.
The U.S. Department of Energy’s Bioenergy Technologies Office funds research, development, and demonstration projects to develop a cost-competitive, sustainable bioenergy industry. Through partnerships with national laboratories, academia, and industry, the Bioenergy Technologies Office is helping to bring affordable, sustainable, and high-performance biofuels and bioproducts to the American public.