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Biotech company develops promising bacteria-based technology to cut down worldwide pollution: 'We actually see a path to a solution'

"We stand at a critical moment in history and are ready to meet the challenges head-on."

"We stand at a critical moment in history and are ready to meet the challenges head-on."

Photo Credit: YouTube

A biotech company based in Skokie, Illinois, is expanding the possibilities of recycling thanks to a revolutionary technology that turns carbon pollution into usable products.

In February, ABC7 detailed how LanzaTech is testing its methods at 100 stations around the world. Six large-scale reactors in China, India, and Europe have already prevented 300,000 tons of carbon dioxide from polluting the air. 

"We want it so every child in the world can pick up a crayon and color the sky and have that crayon that they pick is blue, right, and today, that's not the reality for every kid around the world," Chief Science Officer Zara Summers told the news outlet. 

Air pollution doesn't just create an unsightly haze when present in large volumes. It also impacts our mental and physical well-being. The World Health Organization notes that outdoor air pollution was linked to 4.9 million premature deaths in 2019. 

On its website, LanzaTech compares its carbon recycling method to a brewery. However, rather than making beer, the technology uses bacteria to convert heat-trapping gases into fuels and chemicals.

"Instead of eating sugar and making ethanol, our bacteria eat carbon dioxide, carbon monoxide, and hydrogen and make ethanol from those," Summers told ABC7, explaining that the bioreactors are installed at highly polluting facilities like steel mills and oil and gas refineries.

Scientists have been working toward more sustainable fuel alternatives for the aviation industry, with biofuels and hydrogen among the potential solutions. LanzaTech believes that its recycled pollution could be another option. 

"The climate, I mean, it's in crisis mode," Summers told ABC7. "Whether people wanna believe it or not, it is. And being part of something that we actually see a path to a solution, where we can actually make a difference, that is really inspiring."

"We stand at a critical moment in history and are ready to meet the challenges head-on," LanzaTech CEO Jennifer Holmgren said in a statement on the company website. "Someday everything we use in our daily lives will be made from recycled carbon, mimicking nature where there is no such thing as waste." 

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