Lots of companies aim to reduce carbon in the atmosphere by implementing greener processes or purchasing carbon credits. One New York-based technology company is reducing carbon in a different way—by capturing excess carbon dioxide from the air and transforming it into useful products.
Their first product? Air Co. Vodka, introduced in November 2019. “The three integral components that are at the core of our technology are air—carbon dioxide—and water and solar electricity,” says Gregory Constantine, co-founder and CEO of Air Co. “First, we split water into hydrogen and oxygen. The oxygen is released out into the atmosphere, and the hydrogen is mixed with captured CO2 over our catalyst that causes a reaction to convert it into our alcohol. Our process uses the same principles as photosynthesis in plants but does so more efficiently.”
For each bottle of vodka produced, the company claims that it removes one pound of carbon from the atmosphere, the equivalent of the carbon reduction of nearly eight trees in a day’s work. In comparison, Air Co.’s closest competitor in the vodka market emits 13 pounds of carbon per bottle.
After Air Co. introduced its vodka last year, public reception exceeded leaders’ expectations. The vodka won gold medals for blind taste tests at two international spirits competitions, and consumers have embraced the company’s vision of redefining conscious consumption. “We’ve been so thrilled at both the positive response to our liquid, but also to the ethos of our company that’s centered around innovation,” Constantine says. “We hope to play a role in bringing people sustainable solutions of the highest quality, which harness the power of science and technology to improve our planet.”
When the COVID-19 pandemic interrupted business and life, Air Co. shifted its vodka production efforts to make carbon-negative hand sanitizer. Currently, the company is producing about 2,000 bottles of hand sanitizer each week, and “we’re planning to continue to make it as long as there’s a need,” Constantine says.
Looking ahead, Air Co. aims to continue innovating and developing products in various categories that will reduce carbon in the atmosphere and improve the lives of customers. “While our technology and vodka brings us closer to a more sustainable world, we really envision it being only one of many that help, not harm our planet,” Constantine says. “Our long-term goal is to develop our brand products in each category where we see an opportunity to disrupt the existing infrastructure.”
That might include fragrances, home cleaning products, and more. Along the way, the company hopes to inspire others to develop technologies that will better the planet, Constantine says.
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