California-based biotechnology Newlight Technologies, Inc., has announced the opening of a new commercial-scale AirCarbon production facility in Southern California, called Eagle 3.
AirCarbon, Newlight’s proprietary PHB, a type of PHA developed over the course of over a decade, is made using naturally-occurring microorganisms found in the ocean. At the production facility, ocean conditions are recreated on land with saltwater, air, carbon from greenhouse gas and renewable power, to encourage the microorganisms to make PHB, which serves as both a source of energy and as a carbon store, inside their cells.
AirCarbon, the company explains, is an ocean-degradable, carbon-negative material that can replace fossil-based plastics and fibers while helping to solve ocean plastic pollution and climate change.
Based in Huntington Beach, California, Eagle 3 is Newlight’s largest commercial production facility to date. The facility will be serve to produce the AirCarbon used in the company’s two new consumer brands: Restore foodware and Covalent fashion products.
The Restore brand comprises cutlery and drinking straws made from AirCarbon that, if they end up in the ocean, will degrade. Unlike paper and wood, AirCarbon stands up in hot and cold conditions, which means these products will not become soggy and and are dishwasher safe for reuse.
Made in Southern California, the company plans to start shipping Restore foodware in Q4.
The Covalent fashion collection features AirCarbon-based eyewear, wallets, and handbags. Covalent products are third-party verified as carbon-negative and also leverage IBM blockchain tracking technology to provide the precise carbon footprint of each individual Covalent product.
Covalent has also developed a "Carbon Date" — a unique timestamp placed on every Covalent product that reveals the time when the AirCarbon for each product was formed. When entered into the Covalent website, the Carbon Date enables the consumer to access IBM blockchain history for that exact piece, showing each stage from cradle-to-gate, and the carbon footprint associated with the overall production process. Covalent fashion is estimated to start shipping in Q4.
Both brands can be shopped at their respective dedicated websites.