banner
Air Co. Vodka
photo courtesy of Air Co.

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.

More from IFTNEXT right arrow

Enzyme technology enables efficient PET recycling

France-based Carbios is developing the first biological technology to transform the end-of-life of plastics, says Martin Stephan, deputy CEO of Carbios.

A new approach to reducing salt while maintaining taste

The dangers of a high-sodium diet have been well documented, but a new technology devised by scientists from Washington State University could help reduce sodium in processed foods while retaining taste and texture.

Sucralose–carbohydrate combo may affect insulin sensitivity

A study found that people who drank beverages that contained the low-calorie sweetener sucralose did experience metabolic problems and issues with neural responses but only when the beverage was formulated with both sucralose and a tasteless sugar (maltodextrin).

Manipulating photosynthesis for food security

British scientists have gained new insights into the compound in plants that plays a vital role in the natural process through which plants grow.

More from IFT right arrow

A Vision of the Food System—2045

What are the challenges that will face the food system in 25 years? Here’s a look at some of those challenges and the advances that will be necessary to ensure sufficient resilience.

Reducing Food Waste via Active Packaging

Waste from packaged food exacts a substantial environmental toll, but turning to sustainable new technologies has the potential to lessen its carbon footprint.

SHIFT20: The Conversation Continues

IFT’s virtual event brought participants from around the world together to consider challenging questions. In this issue, Food Technology asks some follow-up queries.

Doing Good While Doing Well

What’s needed to advance sustainability goals and improve trust in the food system? Here’s a step-by-step approach to effecting successful change.

Latest News right arrow

Lee Kum Kee awarded LEED Platinum certification for Xinhui production base

Lee Kum Kee, an Asian sauce provider, has announced that its Xinhui Production Base was awarded LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) Platinum certification.

Call to action for stronger, better-funded federal nutrition research

According to a group of research, policy, and government experts, the United States needs to strengthen and increase funding for federal nutrition research and improve cross-governmental coordination in order to accelerate discoveries, grow the economy, and—most importantly—improve public health, food/nutrition security, and population resilience.

Report identifies 27 countries heading for COVID-19-driven food crises

New analysis by the United Nation’s Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) and World Food Program (WFP) identifies 27 countries that are on the frontline of impending COVID-19-driven food crises, as the pandemic’s knock-on effects aggravate pre-existing drivers of hunger.

Amazon unveils ‘smart’ shopping cart

According to the Associated Press, Amazon has debuted a new smart shopping cart called the Dash Cart.

Diageo to launch Johnnie Walker in 100% plastic-free, paper-based bottle

Diageo, makers of Johnnie WalkerSmirnoff, and Guinness, has created a 100% plastic-free and paper-based spirits bottle, made entirely from sustainably sourced wood.