LanzaTech co-founder Dr. Sean Simpson Joins NILO’s Board

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Simpson brings innovation background to plastic waste deep tech    

NILO, a plastic waste deep tech, has appointed Dr. Sean Simpson, well-known deep tech inventor and co-founder of LanzaTech to its board, effective immediately.

Simpson brings a wealth of global experience and success in waste reduction innovation as the co-founder of LanzaTech. Under Sean’s leadership, the company developed, scaled and commercialized a gas fermentation process technology and established a broad and unique patent portfolio covering all areas of gas fermentation, including fermentation processes and microbes, gaseous feedstock handling, and product and waste handling. LanzaTech listed on the NASDAQ earlier this year with a valuation of USD$2.2 billion.

“We are so pleased to welcome Sean to NiLO’s board. He is well-known for his commitment to plastic waste reduction through brilliant and commercially effective innovation. His appointment is a significant step toward our goal of building a world-class team of innovators, entrepreneurs and social and environmental impact thinkers who can help us realize our vision of eliminating plastic waste,” said Glen Willoughby, NILO’s CEO.

Simpson has over 20 publications and 200 patents, and has received a number of awards including the 2015 U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Presidential Green Chemistry Award, the 2014 Sanitarium, NZ Innovator of the Year Award, and the 2013 Kea NZ World Class New Zealander in Science Award.

“I’ve been impressed by NILO’s potential for some time and I’m looking forward to working together on this enormous challenge,” said Simpson.

The world faces a non-degradable plastic waste challenge. 400 million tonnes of plastic waste is generated every year. Only 9% of it is recycled, leaving the rest to clog our landfills, incinerators and waterways. NILO’s team of chemists and engineers have created technology that repurposes this plastic waste in such a way that it can serve to renew nature in the form of environmentally-friendly solutions rather than pollute it.

The result is a non-toxic adhesive that both addresses the plastic recycling challenge, and can replace one of the world’s most prevalent adhesives, urea formaldehyde. While urea formaldehyde is a highly effective and durable material with a long history in the wood fiber board industry, it has a high carbon footprint and is a known carcinogen. The promise of NILO’s adhesive recently led  the global retail giant IKEA company to take a 12.5% stake in the company and assume a board position earlier this year.

Willoughby said NILO’s vision extends beyond urea formaldehyde to utilize the enormous volumes of plastics of grades and types currently not readily recycled to create a range of adhesives for use in different industrial applications. NILO is committed to ensuring that the performance and pricing of these adhesives are comparable to existing market alternatives so that they can readily be adapted into the value chain. Additionally, the end-of-life products created with NILO adhesives will also be able to be reprocessed into new products, an essential for the circular economy.
Additional quotes from Dr. Simpson:
“Like all great technologies, the opportunity for Nilo is not just New Zealand but throughout the globe, and we want to quickly distribute the technology to make this kind of process the gold standard in plastic recycling.”

“We have a genuine issue globally with waste plastics. If the current rate of pollution continued, there would be more plastic than fish in the sea by 2050. The more urgent reality is that this doesn’t just end up in the sea, it actually ends up in our food chain. These plastics get consumed by fish, we eat the fish, we end up consuming plastic, and we just don’t know the health ramifications.”

About NILO

We are chemists, engineers, technologists and entrepreneurs on an urgent mission to help save our planet. Based in Auckland, New Zealand, NILO is a deep tech company focused on turning waste plastics into new products that seamlessly integrate into the world’s existing supply chain driving rapid replacement and adoption of problem materials like urea formaldehyde and concrete.  Learn more at


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