This company is reaching net zero with CO2-based products
As world leaders, politicians and activists lead a global campaign towards net zero emissions by 2050, the rest of us are doing our best to make the most sustainable choices in our daily lives in order to do our part. While considering the livelihoods of future generations isn’t always the easiest (and never the cheapest) choice, it does help us sleep better at night knowing we’re making an effort.
Even though net zero by 2050 might not seem like the most realistic goal, sometimes innovators in the commercial space rejuvenate our minds, keeping us on track by creating sustainable technology. Speaking of spirits, Air Company is one brand that does just that.
Founded by entrepreneur Gregory Constantine and Dr. Stafford Sheehan, Air Company makes vodka, perfume and hand sanitizer from CO2 extracted from the air we breathe. This means that Air Company products are not only carbon neutral, they are carbon negative. Here is a quick overview if you are unfamiliar with the terms carbon neutral or carbon negative.
What is carbon neutrality?
A company or brand is considered carbon neutral when it offsets the amount of carbon it emits annually. Most companies buy carbon offset credits, which reduce carbon emissions by other means, such as planting trees or building wind turbines. However, purchasing carbon offsets does not actually reduce the carbon emitted in a company’s manufacturing process. Truly sustainable companies understand that they have to do more.
A truly sustainable brand tries to invest in and implement sustainable processes whenever possible. For example, Anchor Brewing partnered with Cambrian to implement wastewater treatment at its brewery, saving millions of gallons of water per year and de-stressing municipal water treatment, further reducing CO2 emissions. .
What is carbon negative?
You’ve probably figured out that a company claiming to be carbon negative has to offset more carbon than it emits. But, there is no company (that we could find anyway) that can make the carbon negative claim without buying any carbon offsets except one. You guessed it, Air Company.
How Air Company is Carbon Negative
The simple answer is a boatload of science. To dive deeper, Air Company uses a proprietary technology called a Carbon Conversion Reactor to convert captured carbon dioxide into alcohols and ethanol to create its products. Its only inputs are air (CO2), water and the sun (renewable energy), with oxygen and water as the only by-products. You can think of it as mimicking photosynthesis, but more efficiently.
The carbon dioxide is captured by Air Company’s partners in the Northeast who hold it before being emitted into the atmosphere. This is then introduced into the reactor with green hydrogen that he creates on site in his laboratory in Brooklyn. These two inputs meet its catalyst (the carbon conversion reactor) and a reaction occurs that creates our alcohol mixture. The mixture is then distilled to separate the ethanol used to create its products. This system is patented and proprietary and forms the basis of all products in its current and future pipeline.
Currently, Air Company produces deliciously pure vodka, a gender-neutral fragrance, and a gentle but effective hand sanitizer. All of the CO2 capture, purification, compression and transport used to create these products emits approximately 0.1 kg of CO2 for every 1 kg of CO2 that passes through our door. This means Air Company’s CO2 is 90% carbon negative when it arrives. Its hydrogen and conversion processes run on renewable energy, enabling an overall net negative process.
Air Company’s Contribution to a Net-Zero Future
The technology developed by Air Company has enormous potential to significantly reduce global carbon emissions and help the world reach its goal of zero emissions. While currently the scale of its product offerings is small, it has just started working in a much larger lab in Brooklyn with a beefed-up carbon conversion reactor that can produce 10 times the amount of the first model. With this operational laboratory, Air Company can meet much greater demand and offset much more carbon emissions.
But that’s just the tip of the iceberg. If you visit Air Company’s website, you will see that Air Company’s proprietary technology has the potential for commercial applications such as sugar and jet/rocket fuel. While Constantine can’t go into specifics just yet, the company plans to announce its expansion into various additional categories this year.
Partnering with leaders in other industries is crucial for Air Company’s technology to reach its full potential. The company is currently supported by NASA in its efforts to convert CO2 into glucose and protein. Air Company can work with its peers in carbon technology to further develop the technology with this continued support. As Air Company grows, you can expect to see more partnerships with companies with the same vision of expanding humanity.
“If our technology is applied across all possible verticals, we have the potential to mitigate 10.8% of global carbon dioxide emissions. That’s over 4.6 billion tonnes of carbon dioxide per year, a significant impact on the fight against climate change and a challenge we are working on Gregory Constantine, co-founder of Air Company
Consumer support is key
While you might not be a fan of vodka and have enough hand sanitizer to last you through the decade, you should still keep an eye out for Air Company if sustainability is important to you. What we decide to buy with our hard-earned money has a greater impact on the future than most other things we can do in our daily lives. Supporting companies like Air Company is key to trying to ensure our grandchildren and great-grandchildren have a better life than scientists are currently predicting.
So if you’re a vodka lover, stock up. If you like to smell good, what could be better than spraying yourself with recovered CO2? And let’s be honest, you can never have enough hand sanitizer.