Air Company Start-up Transforms Carbon Emission into Vodka to Save Planet
A New York-based start-up, “Air Company” is gaining a lot of attention because of its rare vodka composition, a vodka made from captured carbon dioxide from the atmosphere. Through innovation and disruptive technology, the firm’s mission is to create a line of products that can reduce carbon concentration on earth.
A study by Urban Future Lab at New York University shows there are about 350 start-ups that are working in this field to deliver goods made from captured carbon. The technology can be used to reduce CO2 concentration in the atmosphere, convert it into some useful products such as fuel, alcohol, building materials, diamonds, carbonate drinks, animal feed, etc.
The start-up makes use of a carbon conversion reactor to make vodka out of thin air, the only input in this reactor is air (CO2), and water which gets converted into ethanol with oxygen and water as by-products. The process is powered by solar energy. It mimics the principle of photosynthesis.
Air (CO2) + Water = Vodka
The start-up claims that the capture, purification, compression, and transportation of the CO2 used to create Air Company’s products emits around 0.1 kg of CO2 per 1 kg of CO2 that is captured.
Along with cleaning the air on earth, the start-up is working with NASA on Air Stellar project to clean the air in outer space. Their Air vodka, Air spray hand sanitizer, and Carbon fragrance has been successful launch for the firm. Apart from these products, the start-up is working on projects for rocket fuel, glucose production with Draper Laboratory.
Impact on End Users:
This is not the first time when a company is converting captured carbon into some useful end products, there are few start-ups and firms working in this field to make diamonds, proteins, ink, fuel from waste carbon.
According to Fast Company, traditional bottle of vodka produces approx. 5.8 kilograms of carbon per bottle whereas Air Company claims that while production of each Air vodka bottle, they are removing 500 grams of carbon from the atmosphere. CNBC described the taste of Air vodka like an average vodka. The price of 750ml bottle is almost three times higher than a usual vodka bottle, which may discourage some consumers from buying it. Still, on the other hand, the company’s idea has been strong enough to grab a lot of attention from prominent market players and customers inclined towards premium alcoholic beverages with experimental flavoured alcohols, and mixed beverages.
Growth Opportunities for End Users:
An increase in urbanization has led to an association of premium beverages with class and sophistication, resulting in consumers looking for unique and innovative drinking experiences. This segment will be further strengthened by sustainability and clean-label initiatives by many stakeholders, including consumers in the food and beverage sector. In the long term, such innovation will save the planet and meet end users’ objective if lower development cost and scalability are met with the required infrastructure and supportive policy and regulatory guidelines.
Potential Advancements for Peer Markets:
Introduction of strict government plans to reduce carbon emission to stabilise the climatic changes have led to collaborations between big industrial players and CCS, CCU technology providers to minimise their industrial carbon emission.
Recently the Air Company has got a support from Toyota, JetBlue technology ventures, Parley for the Oceans and Carbon Direct Capital Management. It has raised over $40 million to date. Chevron, Talos, and Carbonvert Inc have expanded joint venture for offshore carbon capture sequestration project. Econic Technologies partners with India’s Manali Petrochemicals with the objective to introduce environmentally friendly, CO2 containing polyols, into the $28 billion global polyols market.
Shifting Industry Trend:
It can be a transformative approach by companies working in alcohol industry as it could avoid many of the environmental damages, and in addition to this production cost of the beverage can be reduced as the technology uses only CO2 and water as input ingredients.
The global demand for premium and super-premium alcoholic beverages is rising at a notable rate across both emerging and developed economies. An increase in innovations and advancements in the alcohol production techniques result in new and unique drinks, the consumer’s appetite for such sustainable and unique beverages is already set in the market which contributes to market growth.