Global furniture manufacturer KI has announced that it will be launching the world’s first carbon-negative chair. The chair is made out of AirCarbon, a thermoplastic from Newlight Technologies that is created from the carbon found in air.

Inspired by carbon-capturing processes found in nature, Newlight developed a carbon capture technology that extracts carbon molecules from the air containing greenhouse gases, and re-arranges those molecules into long-chain thermoplastic polymers.

The result is a material that matches the performance of oil-based plastics, while out-competing it on price.

According to a statement by KI, this technology represents “a market-driven solution to displacing oil, reducing material cost and stabilising climate change”.

“By using carbon that would otherwise be in the air we are breathing right now, AirCarbon turns everyday goods into products that actually improve the environment,” said Newlight CEO, Mark Herrema.

“Combined with a cost profile that is more favourable than oil-based plastics, AirCarbon has the potential to change the world.”

The Newlight Technologies team: Evan Creelman, COO, Mark Herrema, CEO, Kenton Kimmel, CTO. Image:

Pulling carbon from the air is not a new invention, although ‘harvesting’ air pollution in this way has never been a cost-effective option. The breakthrough came when Herrema and co-founder of Newlight Technologies Kenton Kimmel developed a ten-times more efficient bio-catalyst, which strips the carbon from a liquefied gas and rearranges it into plastic molecules.

AirCarbon is a naturally biodegradable polyester that can be recycled in multiple-use cycles. It can be formulated into both biodegradable and non-biodegradable grades according to the durability and carbon capture needs of a given application.

The technology has been continuously operated on a large scale over a number of years on a variety of gas sources, ranging from methane-based biogas to CO2-rich air. It can synthesise high-performance thermoplastics from a wide range of sources, including wastewater treatment facilities, landfills, digesters and energy facilities.

Upon completion of lifecycle analysis and environmental testing in early 2014, KI will begin introducing the AirCarbon chairs into its Strive and Grazie seating collections.

Newlight Technologies also plans to use the AirCarbon plastic for food containers, automotive parts, and even cellphone cases for Virgin Mobile.