Newlight Technologies, a California-based biotechnology company and manufacturer of polyhydroxybutyrate - PHB - and sportswear company Nike have entered into a partnership to explore the use of Newlight’s material in new, more sustainable products to be developed by Nike.
PHB, a carbon-negative biomaterial produced by microorganisms from the ocean is one of the best-known members of the PHA family. Microbes produce and store PHAs as reserve materials for carbon and energy. PHB is made in every ecosystem on earth. It is 100% renewably sourced and will biodegrade in basically any environment it ends up in, including the ocean. Newlight has successfully developed technology to produce and market this biopolymer at scale under the brand name AirCarbon.
According to Mark Herrema, Newight Technologies’ CEO, Air Carbon is approximately 40% oxygen from air and 60% carbon from greenhouse gas by weight. AirCarbon is certified carbon-negative by SCS Global Services, resulting in a net reduction in CO2e in the atmosphere through production, and can be melted into a range of forms, from fibre and sheet to solid shapes.
The material is currently used in fashion applications as a carbon-negative substitute to plastic and leather, including for eyewear, wallets, and bags.
Now, Nike is looking at its potential for use in a variety of applications.
"AirCarbon offers an opportunity to further reduce our impact on the planet," said Nike, Inc. Chief Sustainability Officer Noel Kinder. "Materials account for 70 percent of Nike's total carbon footprint, and we're accelerating our efforts and exploring new opportunities in this space because, in the race against climate change, we can't wait for solutions, we have to work together to create them."
"Our mission is change at scale, and there are few better partners in the world than Nike to help achieve that," said Herrema. "We are excited to explore how AirCarbon can help Nike decarbonise its products and achieve its ambitious carbon-reduction goals."