13. LanzaTech

Founders: Dr. Sean Simpson, Dr. Richard Forster
Launched: 2005
Funding: $204.9 million
Valuation: N/A
Disrupting: Carbon recycling
Rival: Genomatica

LanzaTech co-founder Dr. Sean Simpson and CEO Dr. Jennifer Holmgren
Source: Lanza Tech
LanzaTech co-founder Dr. Sean Simpson and CEO Dr. Jennifer Holmgren

Think of LanzaTech, a developer of fuels and chemicals from waste gases, as a little like a brewery. Instead of sugars and yeast to make beer, the Skokie, Illinois-based company uses microbes and waste gases — like from the steel industry — to make fuels and chemicals. LanzaTech's process captures and recycles waste gases before they are emitted as greenhouse gases and thereby reduces pollutants and other environmentally harmful emissions. The company claims its processes can reduce these emissions by 85 percent.

Read MoreFULL LIST: 2016 DISRUPTOR 50

Helping companies drive revenue from their waste streams is at the core of what LanzaTech does. So, for instance, a steel mill could make steel for a car, then use the waste emissions to make the fuel for the car and even the chemical derivatives to produce the interior plastic moldings and foam for the seats.

The company has raised $217 million from venture capital investors, including Khosla Ventures, NZ Superannuation Fund and Mitsui, and is now moving out of its testing phase and into the commercial application of its processes by working in Europe with ArcelorMittal, the worlds's largest steel company, and in Taiwan with China Steel.

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