The Most Innovative Bioeconomy CEO is Jennifer Holmgren, CEO of LanzaTech

Results from survey to choose the most innovative bioeconomy CEO of 2021

Jennifer Holmgren, Ceo of LanzaTech
Jennifer Holmgren, Ceo of LanzaTech

Our readers have voted. The most innovative bioeconomy CEO 2010 is Jennifer Holgren, CEO of LanzaTech, the Illinois-based company that is the global leader in gas fermentation technology. The company provides novel and economic routes to ethanol, jet fuel and high-value chemicals from gas streams including industrial off-gases from steel and alloy mills; petroleum refineries, petrochemical complexes and gas processing facilities; syngas generated from any biomass resource (e.g. municipal solid waste (MSW), organic industrial waste, agricultural waste); and reformed biogas.  

LanzaTech’s unique microbial gas fermentation process provides a sustainable pathway to produce platform chemicals that serve as building blocks to products that have become indispensable in our lives such as rubber, plastics, synthetic fibers and fuels. The company’s technology solutions mitigate carbon emissions from industry without adversely affecting food or land security.

LanzaTech’s technology has been demonstrated at five industrial sites with over 40,000 hours of operation using steel mill waste gases (BlueScope Steel, NZ; Shougang Steel, CN; BaoSteel, CN; China Steel, TW) and approximately 30,000 hours using syngas from industrial MSW gasification (Sekisui, JPN).

LanzaTech’s first commercial facility is operating in China with Shougang Steel and four further commercial facilities are in the pipeline in India, South Africa, California and Belgium using a range of feedstocks. LanzaTech’s first commercial flight using a blend of drop in jet fuel produced from steel mill emissions took place in October 2018 with partner Virgin Atlantic.

Jennifer Holmgren succeeds to Ken Richards (Leaf Resources), Tony Duncan (Circa Group), Jürgen Eck (BRAIN AG), Alex Michine (MetGen) and Simao Soares, respectively most innovative CEO 2016, 2017, 2018, 2019, 2020. It’s the first woman to win this award.

We heartily congratulate her on this important recognition and sincerely thank our readers for the participation in the survey. As usual, we would like to underline that the bioeconomy revolution is a reality thanks to visionary managers like Jennifer Holmgren, the other nine selected along with her in the list of the 10 most innovative bioeconomy CEOs and to all those who in different roles contribute to research, develop and commercialize new bio-based products.

About the winner

Prior to joining LanzaTech, Jennifer Holmgren was VP and General Manager of the Renewable Energy and Chemicals business unit at UOP LLC, a Honeywell Company. She was one of the key drivers of UOP’s leadership in aviation biofuels, and under her management, UOP technology became instrumental in producing nearly all of the initial fuels used by commercial airlines and the military for testing and certification of alternative aviation fuel. Today, under Dr. Holmgren’s guidance, LanzaTech is working towards developing a variety of platform chemicals and fuels, including the world’s first alternative jet fuel derived from industrial waste gases.

Dr. Holmgren is the author or co-author of 50 US patents and more than 30 scientific publications. In 2003, she was the first woman awarded the Malcolm E. Pruitt Award from the Council for Chemical Research (CCR). In 2010, she was the recipient of the Leadership Award from the Civil Aviation Alternative Fuels Initiative (CAAFI) for her work in establishing the technical and commercial viability of sustainable aviation biofuels. In 2015 Dr. Holmgren and her team at LanzaTech were awarded the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Presidential Green Chemistry Award and she was awarded the BIO Rosalind Franklin Award for Leadership in Industrial Biotechnology. Sustainability magazine, Salt, named Dr. Holmgren as the world’s most compassionate business woman in 2015. In October 2015, Dr. Holmgren was awarded the Outstanding Leader Award in Corporate Social Innovation from the YWCA Metropolitan Chicago. Dr. Holmgren was named as #1 of the most 100 influential leaders in the Bioeconomy by Biofuels Digest for 2016-2017.

She currently serves on the board of The National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) Biofuels Advisory Committee. Dr. Holmgren is also on the Governing Council for the Bio Energy Research Institute in India. The institute has been set up by the DBT (Department of Biotechnology, Indian Government) and IOC (Indian Oil Corporation).

Dr. Holmgren holds a B.Sc. degree from Harvey Mudd College, a Ph.D. from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and an MBA from the University of Chicago.


Il Bioeconomista, 2021-12-07.


BRAIN AG - Biotechnology Research And Information Network AG
China Steel Corporation
Circa Group
LanzaTech Ltd.
Leaf Resources Ltd
Shougang Jingtang Iron and Steel United Company
Virgin Atlantic Airlines


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