A California-based chemical technologies company claims to have created a manufacturing technology that captures carbon and turns it into AirCarbon, a material that replicates oil-based plastics.
A carbon-negative plastic has been sought-after for many years. While a material that pulls carbon out of the air has been produced, the cost to process it has been three times higher than the cost to produce plastic from oil.
Developers at Newlight Technologies LLC, however, have achieved a scalable, cost-effective production method for AirCarbon, a high-performance thermoplastic made by pulling carbon out of air. Newlight’s manufacturing process begins with a point-source stream of air containing greenhouse gas that is collected and fed into a proprietary gas polymerization reactor. Using multiple gas mass transfer technology, air and greenhouse gas is then converted into aqueous form. Dissolved gas is then contacted with an engineered biocatalyst that polymerizes hydrogen, oxygen and carbon into a long-chain thermoplastic polymer at high yield. The resin is converted to plastic pellets.
According to Newlight, AirCarbon's environmental benefits are matched by its economic advantages. The company has partnered with a global furniture company KI to produce the first industrially-produced carbon-negative chair, the Strive and the Grazie.
In recognition of the company's technological and commercialization achievements, Newlight was named "Most Innovative Company of the Year" by the American Business Awards in 2013.