Beyond the sustainability benefits, the continuous, low temperature and energy efficient production process could allow LanzaTech further inroads into the global ethylene market, which is estimated to reach $125 billion this year.
Around 160 million tons of ethylene — considered a building block for thousands of chemicals, plastics and other sterile coatings and materials — are produced annually, according to LanzaTech.
The ethylene production process also has become one of the world's greatest challenges to decarbonize as chemical companies look to a post-pollution future.
LanzaTech previously has manufactured ethylene by the indirect ethanol pathway method, taking ethanol produced from carbon emissions and then converting this ethanol to ethylene.
This innovative development circumvents this conversion step.
"This is not a specialty chemical or a niche market, rather it is something that we believe will have significant impact in the lives of billions of people daily, no matter how much you earn or where you live," Holmgren said. "This is an exceptional opportunity to implement meaningful carbon removal and create sustainable synthetic chemicals that we believe can replace fossil fuels forever."
LanzaTech has years of experience in commercializing gas-conversion biotechnology.
The company has leveraged synthetic biology to engineer gas-eating microbes to produce sustainable versions of key chemicals made from fossil resources.
"Through synthetic biology, LanzaTech has consistently translated lab-scale developments ... by designing direct pathways from CO2 and CO, to produce cheaper, less energy-intensive, and more sustainable chemicals," the company stated in an Oct. 10 release. "We believe that this track record will now extend to the production of ethylene."
LanzaTech recently supported Climate Week in New York and the Clean Energy Ministerial that took place in Pittsburgh.
"I urge world and economic leaders to embrace the role synthetic biology can play in enabling the transition away from fossil fuels this world so desperately needs," Holmgren said. "Let's focus on what is in our power to transition away from virgin fossil inputs to create a carbon economy that transforms waste carbon into one of our most valuable commodities."
LanzaTech's first two commercial scale gas fermentation plants have produced more than 50 million gallons of ethanol, which is the equivalent of offsetting the release of 200,000 metric tons of CO2 into the atmosphere, according to the company.