Dec 31, 2013

Plastic from pollution, methane from dairy farm waste used to make AirCarbon.

...31-year-old co-founders of California-based Newlight Technologies have two factories that take methane captured from dairy farms and use it to make AirCarbon — plastic that will soon appear in the form of chairs, food containers and automotive parts. Coming next year: cellphone cases for Virgin Mobile.

"You'll be able to hold carbon in your hand," Herrema says of the products, which an independent lab says remove more carbon from the atmosphere than their manufacturing emits. By replacing oil-based plastics, he says he wants to help reduce global warming: "We actually want to change the world."

"This will be a paradigm shift in our industry," says Dick Resch, CEO of furniture maker KI, saying AirCarbon will produce the first carbon-negative furniture. KI, which has backed Newlight for eight years and holds exclusive industry rights to its product, plans next year to sell AirCarbon chairs and eventually other products.

"I wish I had been smart enough to figure this out," says William Dowd, former global director of industrial biotech research and development at Dow Chemical. He says venture capitalists asked him to look at Newlight's work, but he initially demurred, doubting it would break ground. "I was astounded by what they were able to do."

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