Inspired by ocean microorganisms that convert methane and CO2 into polyhydroxybutyrate (PHB), Newlight Technologies embarked on a mission to replicate this process to produce high-performance, cost-effective biomaterials.
The result is a unique, circular, and versatile biomaterial material called Air Carbon.
Characteristics and Applications of AirCarbon
AirCarbon is not just another material; it’s an ingenious blend of sustainability and functionality.
It offers a viable alternative to synthetic plastics and animal leather, while also possessing unique properties like being naturally meltable and biologically digestible.
Remarkably, when produced using renewable energy sources, AirCarbon even achieves a carbon-negative footprint.
The material is also FDA food contact-approved, dishwasher safe and reusable, adding to its roster of functional and environmentally friendly attributes.
Technological Foundations and Scalability
The production of AirCarbon involves capturing CO2 emissions from a range of sources, including farms and waste facilities.
These emissions are processed in a 50-foot reactor at Newlight’s California plant, where ocean-derived microorganisms separate carbon and oxygen atoms from the gases. These are then rearranged to create AirCarbon.
Following its formation, the material is melted, cooled, and pelletized, ready to be transformed into a plethora of applications, ranging from cutlery to furniture. The material is designed to be compostable and recyclable.
About Newlight Technologies
Newlight Technologies was honored as the “Biomaterial of the Year” by the Nova Institute and cited as one of the “100 most technologically significant innovations of the year” by R&D Magazine, both in 2013.
Further accolades include being named “Innovation of the Year” by Popular Science in 2014 and receiving the EPA Presidential Green Chemistry Challenge Award in 2016.
As it stands today, Newlight’s focus is two-fold: to sustain internal growth and to expand through licensed production, with plans to extend the AirCarbon technology into other sectors, such as animal-free proteins and biocompatible textiles.