Energy Matters 2014: Climate-friendly fuel: A challenge of scale and time
In 2013 we established Energy Matters, a lecture series that brought together some of the world’s most respected thinkers, consultants and commentators on energy issues.
The third speaker in this year’s series is Dr Sean Simpson, Co-founder of pioneering sustainable fuels company LanzaTech and 2013 winner of the Kea World Class New Zealand Award for Science, Technology and Academia. In his talk, Dr Simpson looks beyond the conventional sources of energy to what is happening over the horizon and in the laboratories of emerging energy companies.
World energy demand is expected to increase by up to 40% by 2030 with renewable sources playing an increasing role in the primary global energy supply. Internationally, governments have already begun incentivising and mandating the increased use of renewable fuels in the transport sector. It is anticipated that the global markets for more environmentally sustainable alternatives will exceed $100 billion by 2020 so finding sustainable, scalable solutions that will safeguard the environment while not detrimentally impacting food supplies is essential.
This talk will discuss sustainable hydrocarbon fuel and chemical production processes, ranging from available, mature technologies, to processes on the brink of commercialisation and those still further back in their development stage.
Dr Sean Simpson is the Chief Scientific Officer and Co-founder of LanzaTech. He leads the development and commercialisation of the company’s core technology, which involves taking waste gases from steel mills and converting them into high-value low-carbon fuels and high-value chemicals. The core technology has been successfully demonstrated in a pilot plant in New Zealand and two large pre-commercial scale plants in China.
Since its inception in 2005, Dr Simpson has led the company to secure numerous rounds of venture capital funding, significant commercial and technical partnerships with leading global organisations, and government R&D grants. His leadership has encouraged collaboration between biologists, fermentation specialists, process and design engineers and business development teams to develop the technology and the company to become a global leader in gas fermentation.
Prior to LanzaTech, Dr Simpson had eight years’ experience in bio-products development and is the author of more than 20 publications and numerous patents.
The Energy Centre Speaker Series is supported by the Energy Education Trust of New Zealand. For more information on the speaker series, including other speakers and topics for 2014, please visit the Energy Matters website.