China Steel to spend $46 million in Taiwan's ethanol project

23 April 2015

China Steel Corp plans a commercial-scale project to produce ethanol from waste gases in a push to improve air quality without using food as feedstock, the firm that came up with the technology said on Wednesday.

China Steel will spend $46 million for a commercial ethanol facility attached to a steel plant in Taiwan that is targeted to pump out more than 30 million gallons of ethanol annually, according to LanzaTech, the Chicago-based company that created the technology.

The project is poised to be the first commercial-scale producer of the biofuel with the waste-gas technology, as China pushes to produce more biofuels without draining land and resources, the spokeswoman said.

That production would likely feed the local market, but represents the company's first foothold in the Asian market. LanzaTech said it plans to break ground on two commercial-scale projects in China this year.

China's ethanol production totaled about 740 million gallons in 2014, largely produced from corn, but the country is increasingly reducing financial support for grains-produced biofuels, according to a U.S. Department of Agriculture report.

The global debate has increased over the need to reduce greenhouse gas emissions from the fuel supply chain by boosting investment in renewable and advanced fuels.

While concerns have mounted over air quality in China, Beijing is also keen to ensure its soaring population is fed.

China Steel plans to break ground on the project later this year, kicking off with production of about 17 million gallons annually. LanzaTech is working on similar projects with two other steel companies in China that are not yet scheduled for commercial production.