by Stephen Garner
AirCarbon Pellets and AirCarbon Leather

Newlight Technologies is teaming up with Nike to explore the use of AirCarbon, a carbon-negative biomaterial produced by microorganisms from the ocean. AirCarbon is currently used in fashion applications as a carbon-negative substitute to plastic and leather, including for eyewear, wallets, and bags. Nike will explore the use of AirCarbon in a variety of applications, with the goal to advance Nike’s mission to create products that are better for athletes and the planet.

“AirCarbon offers an opportunity to further reduce our impact on the planet,” said Noel Kinder, chief sustainability officer at Nike. “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.”

Newlight uses naturally occurring microorganisms from the ocean that eat air and greenhouse gas and convert it inside of their cells into AirCarbon: an energy storage material, also known as polyhydroxybutyrate (or PHB), that is approximately 40 percent oxygen from air and 60 percent 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 fiber and sheet to solid shapes.

“Our mission is change at scale, and there are few better partners in the world than Nike to help achieve that,” added Mark Herrema, CEO of Newlight. “We are excited to explore how AirCarbon can help Nike decarbonize its products and achieve its ambitious carbon-reduction goals.”