Turning waste into energy, Kiwi entrepreneur and scientist Sean Simpson is a modern alchemist.
He’s the founder of an Auckland, New Zealand-based company called LanzaTech.
With long red hair and a quick, loud laugh, he’s a mad scientist for the good guys.
Simpson says that with the help of tiny, genetically-engineered “bugs,” LanzaTech can take industrial waste and turn it into usable fuel.
And while alchemy has always been something of a myth, LanzaTech’s process is already up and running.
Right now, it’s converting exhaust into ethanol at a steel mill outside Auckland.
Simpson’s first ambition is to export this process to China, where half the world’s steel is made and half the world’s steel is consumed.
His second, much loftier, goal is to create new bugs that will be able to convert the world’s most ubiquitous greenhouse gas, CO2, into something more useful.
Let’s not kid around: If Simpson can do that, he’ll be solving one of the world’s biggest problems.
To help achieve those missions, Simpson has raised a sack full of cash from Silicon Valley legend, Vinod Khosla.
He’s raising another round right now, too. He wants LanzaTech to be the rare multi-billion dollar tech firm based out of New Zealand.
During out recent trip down under, we stopped by LanzaTech to meet Simpson and his bugs.