Inspenet, September 9, 2023.
The company Newlight Technologies has developed a decarbonization technology that transforms greenhouse gases into biomaterials. Its main objective is to replace plastics and leather with its own material called AirCarbon .
The idea behind it is quite simple: carbon that would normally be released into the atmosphere is processed to create a new type of material that can be used in various industries, including textiles and medicine.
This project is inspired by the Earth’s regenerative cycle: trees absorb carbon from the atmosphere for their growth, while corals in the ocean take advantage of carbon in the water to expand.
Based on this principle, the Newlight team of scientists made a discovery in 2003: certain marine microorganisms had the ability to use air and greenhouse gases to produce a biomaterial called PHB. However, at that time, they lacked the technology necessary to replicate this process in a terrestrial environment.
After ten years of research and development, the Newlight team finally managed to create this technology in their laboratories. Using marine microorganisms, they were able to convert air and greenhouse gases into a moldable material and AirCarbon was born.
AirCarbon could replace various materials
This material, which is already in the production process, promises to transform the textile industry. According to Newlight, in a first stage, AirCarbon could replace leather and other conventional materials in the manufacture of products such as glasses.
“Taking into account that AirCarbon is PHB and it is produced naturally, the body recognizes it as its own,” they explain from Newlight. “In the next few years we want to launch textiles for biomedical and personal care applications.”
This type of materials could open new avenues for the natural treatment of wounds.
In early August, Newlight raised $125 million in a funding round led by GenZero. This investment stands out as one of the largest in the month of August in the United States.
GenZero is an investment platform focused on decarbonization. Also participating in this fundraising round were Oxy Low Carbon Ventures, which is dedicated to the development of low-carbon technologies and business solutions, and Charter Next Generation, a global manufacturer of high-quality products.
Charter Next Generation’s involvement is especially notable as it is not only investing in the project, but has also committed to using AirCarbon in the manufacturing of some of its products.
“This capital round is a game-changer for Newlight as we have the opportunity to leverage 20 years of research, development and commercialization to expand biological decarbonization at scale,” explains Mark Herrema, CEO of Newlight. “It’s an important milestone for us.”
Newlight currently distributes products and materials made with AirCarbon to more than 5,000 locations worldwide, ranging from customers to partners in industries such as fashion, entertainment, hospitality and automotive.
Thanks to this new investment, Newlight will be able to increase AirCarbon’s production in California and expand its operations to Ohio.
“Our vision is to create a world where greenhouse gases are used in the same way that nature uses them: as a resource,” details the company’s CEO. “By turning them into high-performance consumer products, we can give companies a scalable path to help them decarbonize their products.”