High performance materials made from carbon emissions
How does it work?
In his research, Nils came across LanzaTech, a company specialized in carbon recycling. LanzaTech captures concentrated carbon emissions from industrial sources before they can be emitted into the atmosphere. They then use a special strain of bacteria first identified in rabbit droppings (yes, rabbit droppings) to turn this carbon waste into ethanol through fermentation. In basic terms, the fermentation process is similar to the one you’d find in a traditional brewery, only instead of using sugar and yeast to create beer, LanzaTech is converting emissions into fuels and chemicals. Excited by the prospect of making a shoe from carbon emissions, the Lanzatech team quickly came on board. This was a big step forward. As LanzaTech were able to derive ethanol from carbon emissions at scale, the team had overcome their original challenge. And other progress was happening too.
Why is it needed?
CleanCloud™ turns carbon emissions into performance products. We’re flipping the idea that carbon emissions are waste, and instead looking at these harmful gases as a resource. And that’s how this story began, when On’s innovation team asked: “What if, instead of an environmental problem, carbon emissions could be part of an environmental solution?” “What if…” starts a lot of sentences at On. And in 2018 we started asking the “what if” questions that led to CleanCloud™. The project marks an important step in On’s journey to move away from using fossil-based materials. But by its very nature, true innovation means navigating uncharted waters. And there were some rough seas along the way.
How does it improve life?
“Making five pairs of the Cloudprime was an incredible story. But we’re thinking about five million – and more. There will be more challenges along the way, but the CleanCloud™ project has shown us that, by constantly questioning the status quo, refusing to give up, and having the right team with the right mindset, there are no limits.” “We’re dreaming of decarbonizing our industry. And this is just the beginning.”