Alex Edwards tells us why LanzaTech believes ‘no carbon should be left behind’
Could you tell us a little more about your role at LanzaTech?
“I am part of the LanzaTech IP team. As a team, we are focused on invention harvesting, prosecution of a global portfolio of patents and trademarks, competitive intelligence, and due diligence.
“My role within the team is as a patent attorney. I handle the prosecution of patent applications for the process and engineering side of our portfolio. In addition, I also handle our trademark portfolio.”
What are some of your key focuses for 2018 as a company?
“Our main objective in 2018 is our first commercial project, which is going to be up and operational sometime this year. The project uses LanzaTech’s technology in order to produce products from the gas emissions of a steel manufacturing process.
“In addition to our first commercial project, LanzaTech is focused on identifying new gas sources and developing new products. These new developments help connect companies across industries.”
We are hearing more and more about IP and Innovation in China, is that something that is also coming up more on your radar?
“We have a very global patent portfolio and typically file in jurisdictions where we foresee commercial potential, including China. LanzaTech has first-hand experience dealing with IP and Innovation in China, as both the first demonstration facility and the first commercial offering of LanzaTech’s technology are China based.”
What are the typical challenges you’ve come up against within your industry? Either as a business, or you personally?
“The revolutionary nature of LanzaTech’s technology is both a challenge and an opportunity. The scientists and engineers at LanzaTech are constantly developing process improvements, which enable us to work with new gas streams and create new products. As these developments arise, the IP team is tasked with conducting due diligence in order to advise on our ability to operate within new spaces, as well as ensuring that our IP is sufficiently protected.
“An aggressive approach to IP protection has enabled LanzaTech to carve out a strong foothold in this rapidly developing technology area.
“The renewable energy sector as a whole is constantly evolving. For instance, electric vehicles are starting to be become more widely used and accepted, and it’s becoming mainstream for your everyday person to drive an electric car. With this increase in electric vehicle use comes a decrease in demand for low carbon transport fuel like ethanol, which is one of the many products produced by the LanzaTech process.
“With this in mind, LanzaTech is finding new and exciting outlets for the ethanol produced. For example, LanzaTech has developed an ‘A to J technology’ which is the alcohol to jet process for converting ethanol to jet fuel.”
How does PatSnap fit into your day to day role, and has it added any value to your work?
“For me personally, I use PatSnap as my one and only search tool. PatSnap has a great user interface that is very intuitive, which enables me to develop searches. Additionally, PatSnap fosters teamwork by allowing for the exporting and sharing of the searches between team members.
“PatSnap helps to drive the efficiency of the IP team. Most of the legal and IP work is done in-house, with very little work being outsourced. As a team, we need powerful tools to make the most efficient use of our limited time and resources. PatSnap is an excellent tool that enables us to complete thorough work, without relying on outsourcing or search firms.”
Are there personal drivers behind what you’re doing? Why is this so important to you?
“My interest in intellectual property was piqued during my first engineering internship. This interest led me to continue past my engineering degree, and pursue a law degree knowing that my ultimate goal was to be an intellectual property attorney.
“Intellectual property is a fascinating hybrid of science and law that enables me to leverage both my engineering degree and my law degree to protect the life-changing technologies of tomorrow.
“I am very happy to be part of the LanzaTech team. LanzaTech is a company with incredible potential to change the way in which people see carbon. By working in-house at LanzaTech I am able to work alongside the scientists and engineers that help bring LanzaTech’s ideas to reality.”