US – Dell is introducing new packaging that uses what it claims is a “carbon-negative” plastic material that is more sustainable and cost effective than traditional oil-based plastics.
Invented and produced by US bio-tech start-up Newlight Technologies, the carbon-negative AirCarbon is a plastic material made from air and greenhouse gases which is procured by a special carbon-capture technology. According to Dell, this process sequesters more carbon than it produces, pulling carbon from the air and generating a net positive impact on the environment.
The AirCarbon technology
After capturing the carbon that would otherwise become a part of the air, Newlight inserts it into its polymerization system, bringing the carbon into contact with the company’s biocatalyst which separates the carbon and oxygen from an airstream containing greenhouse gas, and then re-assembles those molecules into a long chain PHA-based thermoplastic material – AirCarbon.
According to Newlight, its breakthrough microorganism-based biocatalyst generates a polymer conversion yield that is over nine times higher than previous greenhouse gas-to-PHA conversion’ technologies. This helps shift the cost structure of the greenhouse gas to plastic conversion process; Newlight claims AirCarbon can “significantly” out-compete oil-based plastics such as polypropylene and polyethylene on price.
AirCarbon has been independently verified by Trucost in cooperation with NSF Sustainability as a carbon-negative material on a cradle-to-grave basis.
The AirCarbon-based packaging will launch this fall beginning with the packaging sleeves around new Dell Latitude series notebooks. Dell is piloting AirCarbon packaging in the United States, and plans to extend it globally for use in both packaging and products.
“Dell is using greenhouse gases that would otherwise become part of the air we breathe to replace materials traditionally made by oil, ” said Mark Herrema, CEO, Newlight Technologies. “We commend Dell for being the first in the IT industry to introduce packaging that reverses the impact of climate change. Introducing greener packaging at a lower cost per unit than traditional oil-based plastics is good for the environment and Dell’s bottom line.”