(EnergyAsia, December 2 2011, Friday) — New Zealand’s LanzaTech said it and Yankuang Group, one of China’s largest coal producers, will jointly produce fuels and chemicals using LanzaTech’s biological fermentation process and synthesis gas from Yankuang’s coal gasification unit.

Witnessed by the US Ambassador to China, Gary Locke, as part of a US Trade Mission to Shandong province, the companies signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) which included James Zhang, LanzaTech’s vice president of Business Development.

LanzaTech said its proven proprietary gas fermentation platform can be used to convert biomass syngas at laboratory scale and envisages a demonstration facility will be operational by the second half of 2012.

As the world’s largest producer and consumer of coal, China is an ideal location for LanzaTech’s coal-fuels and chemicals technology.

Dr Zhang said the agreement with Yankuang highlights China’s commitment to developing clean energy solutions.

Zhang Minglin, Yankuang’s group vice-president, said:

“Our goal is to adjust coal chemical production structure and increase the efficiency of our process, by reducing our carbon footprint while maintaining growth. There is increased interest in China in coal-chemical development that is in line with China’s energy and environmental plan.”

Founded in New Zealand in 2005, LanzaTech has developed a novel gas-liquid fermentation process that produces fuels and chemicals from gas resources. Backed by global investment, the company employs a strong technical team in the US, China and New Zealand and has a rapidly growing patent portfolio as well as international agreements in the steel, coal, refining and chemicals sectors.

Established in 1976, Yankuang Group is headquartered in Jining in Shandong province. It is engaged in coal production and sales, coal chemicals, civil engineering, machinery manufacturing, transportation and electricity, but also garment business and trade.