Cleaning the Environment with Plastics – An Edison-like Innovation

Consider this equation:

Carbon bearing waste streams + Human ingenuity
= Plastic + Cleaner environment

Any waste stream containing carbon now can be used to make plastics-no longer requiring oil based plastic technology. It cleans the air and reduces the need for petroleum-based chemistry/products. Who would not want to salute this?

It all started 10 years ago in a dorm room in Princeton, University. The chemistry has been known for quite some time, but some very ingenious young folks make it economically possible … just like Edison when he beat out about 20 international invention teams to make the electric light bulb commercially practical.

Pellets of plastic produced by the process

Pellets of plastic produced by the process

The heart of the innovation is bio-catalyst technology, a very powerful chemical enabler. Carbon bearing gas is first captured, and then liquefied. The catalyst is added and grabs the carbon out of the liquid, helping re-arrange it in long hydrocarbon chains … plastic … a plastic that resembles polypropylene.

AirCarbon™ is a naturally biodegradable polyester that can be recycled in multiple use cycles, and can be formulated into both biodegradable and non-biodegradable grades according to the durability and carbon capture needs of a given application.

The motivator for the young entrepreneurs was to reduce global warming. The young entrepreneurs call their product AirCarbon™; and they worked long and hard at odd jobs to keep their idea alive. Their company is Newlight Technologies, LLC of Irvine California.

Independent lab testing confirms this process removes more carbon from the atmosphere than their manufacturing emits-carbon negative. First products to be made from this will include chairs, food containers, auto parts, and cell phone cases.

Come to think of it, Thomas Edison’s favorite science was chemistry. He would have had a blast with AirCarbon™ technology!

Editor’s Deep Dive

Thomas Edison on Time MagazineThomas Edison said … “When I have finally decided that a result is worth getting, I go ahead on it and make trial after trial until it comes.”

Time ® is a registered trademark of Time Inc.

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