The Business of Innovation with Dr Sean Simpson

Article  \  13 Mar 2014

On March 6 & 7 AJ Park hosted seminars in Auckland, Wellington and Christchurch as part of our Business of Innovation series.  This is a series of five seminars exploring the different stages of the ‘Business of Innovation’ lifecycle with a focus on intellectual property strategy.

Hosted by Shelley Rowland, Partner, the second seminar featured Dr Sean Simpson, Chief Scientific Officer/Founder of LanzaTech, who provided insight on key intellectual property challenges and accomplishments during the idea development phase.  Sean is an engaging and dynamic speaker who is clearly passionate about his work (although he doesn’t call it work as he enjoys it so much!).

Sean co-founded LanzaTech in 2005 and since then has gone on to build a thriving research-led company employing over 140 staff with offices in the USA, New Zealand and China.  LanzaTech’s core technology involves taking waste gases from Steel Mills and converting them via a fermentation process into high value low carbon fuels and high value chemicals.  The fermentation uses microbes that convert carbon monoxide into fuels such as ethanol.  The core technology has been successfully demonstrated in a pilot plant in New Zealand and two large pre-commercial scale plants in China.  A commercial scale plant is currently in planning near Shanghai.  By using waste gases instead of food (for example sugarcane or corn), LanzaTech’s fermentation technology provides a sustainable, low-cost, low carbon fuel production process with no impact on availability of food or land.

Each stage of the core process has been developed by attracting the best talent to innovate and advance the technology.  Sean and his team have made several key advances in understanding and optimising the fermentation and the company has a large patent portfolio as proof of their innovative nature.

LanzaTech’s innovation and extensive intellectual property portfolio has been an important factor in securing investment from companies and venture capital investors keen to gain a foothold in the emerging sustainable fuels and chemicals market.  AJ Park IP is proud to support LanzaTech in managing their portfolio and advising them on intellectual property matters.

Keep an eye out for our upcoming seminars in 2014, the next topic will be commercialisation of intellectual property and will feature another exciting guest speaker.