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Mitsui is to invest in LanzaTech, a venture company which is developing gas fermentation process technology using microorganisms.

Mar. 26, 2014


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Mitsui & Co., Ltd. ("Mitsui", Head Office: Tokyo, President & CEO: Masami Iijima) underwrote USD 20 million of LanzaTech ("LT") newly issued preferred shares. Mitsui is the lead investor of this finance round (total USD 60 million).

LT has engaged in the development of microorganism gas fermentation* technology which converts carbon monoxide (CO) and carbon dioxide (CO2) containing gases into fuel and chemicals such as ethanol and butadiene. LT's main business will be licensing the unique technology.

LT has successfully demonstrated the technology, using waste gas from a steel mill in China, by converting waste gas (which contains mainly CO and hydrogen) to ethanol in late 2012. LT is currently working on a world first commercial project (expected to be operational in 2015) where industrial gas is converted by microorganism gas fermentation technology. On top of this effort, LT is moving ahead on diversifying the variety of feed gases (such as gasified municipal solid waste biogas) and end products (such as butadiene, acetic acid and jet fuel) with prominent partners in each industry.

Ethanol produced by LT's technology is a clean energy made from waste gases and is expected to be used as bio-ethanol to be added to gasoline which is required by regulations in various regions and countries.

LT is also undertaking gas fermentation technology development with CO2 containing gases. Once commercialized, this technology is going to be a groundbreaking business to tackle global warming by creating valuable products out of greenhouse gases.

The aim of our investment is to create a new business where Mitsui actively contributes to developing next generation bio-fuels and chemicals made from waste gases. Through this investment, Mitsui is going to be involved in marketing of LT's technology, business developments and product off-take worldwide. To strengthen Mitsui's involvement, Mitsui will appoint a director as well as send personnel to LT.

This is the third "business innovation project" to be undertaken under Mitsui's new framework to pursue innovative business, established in October 2012. Under the framework, innovative projects are defined as business endeavors newly set up with the aim of creating business for the next generation projects, which are deemed to generate profit from a long-term business perspective. The new framework enables business units to pursue relevant long-term business opportunities, without being subject to some of the strict criteria for investment and certain exit benchmarks stipulated in Mitsui's regulations.

*Fermentation is a metabolic process in which microorganisms convert carbohydrate such as glucose into alcohol or acid. The microorganisms used in LT's process are unique because not only can they convert syngas, which consists mainly of CO and hydrogen, but also they can convert CO2 which is a very stable chemical compound. Another feature that the microorganisms have is that they can promote chemical reactions at a much lower energy than a chemical catalyst.

LT Overview

Name of Company LanzaTech New Zealand Limited
Head Office Chicago, Illinois, U.S.A.
Established January, 2005
Representative Dr.Jennifer Holmgren, Chief Executive Officer
Employees 138
Shareholders Khosla Ventures, Petronas Technology Ventures, Siemens Venture Capital etc...
Business Activities Developing gas fermentation processes using microorganisms which convert CO and CO2 containing waste gases into fuels and chemicals. LT's main business model is licensing this technology. The first commercial project is expected to start operation in 2015.

LT's Demonstration Facility with Shougang, China

LT's Demonstration Facility with Shougang, China

Notice:
This announcement contains forward-looking statements. These forward-looking statements are based on Mitsui's current assumptions, expectations and beliefs in light of the information currently possessed by it and involve known and unknown risks, uncertainties and other factors. Such risks, uncertainties and other factors may cause Mitsui's actual results, financial position or cash flows to be materially different from any future results, financial position or cash flows expressed or implied by these forward-looking statements. These risks, uncertainties and other factors referred to above include, but are not limited to, those contained in Mitsui's latest Annual Securities Report and Quarterly Securities Report, and Mitsui undertakes no obligation to publicly update or revise any forward-looking statements.
This announcement is published in order to publicly announce specific facts stated above, and does not constitute a solicitation of investments or any similar act inside or outside of Japan, regarding the shares, bonds or other securities issued by us.

Information

For inquiries on this matter, please contact

Mitsui & Co., Ltd.
Corporate Communications Division
Yusuke Yamauchi
Telephone: +81-3-3285-7540
Facsimile: +81-3-3285-9819