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High performance thermoplastics from methane

High performance thermoplastics from methane

Inspired by carbon-capturing processes found in nature, a new technology has been developed, patented and commercialized - a carbon capture technology that extracts carbon molecules from air containing greenhouse gas and re-arranges those molecules into long-chain thermoplastic polymers that can match the performance of oil-based plastics and out-compete oil-based plastics on price. Newlight Technologies’ has been continuously operating its technology at large scale over a number of years on a variety of gas sources, ranging from methane-based biogas to CO2-rich air. Newlight’s conversion technology can synthesize high-performance thermoplastics from a wide range of sources, including from wastewater treatment facilities, landfills, digesters, or energy facilities.
AirCarbon is a material made by separating carbon from air--carbon that would otherwise be in the air we are breathing right now. By replacing oil with AirCarbon, everyday use products can be transformed into materials that reverse the flow of carbon, reduce the concentration of carbon in the air, displacing oil, and ending climate change one step at a time. The new material is able to meet the performance requirements of a wide range of applications, including applications currently using fossil fuel-based polypropylene, polyethylene, ABS, polystyrene, and TPU. It can be used in extrusion, blown film, cast film, thermoforming, fiber spinning, and injection molding applications. It is a naturally biodegradable polyester that can be recycled in multiple use cycles, and can be formulated into both biodegradable and non-biodegradable grades according to the durability and carbon capture needs of a given application. It is an independently-verified, cradle-to-grave (including all energy inputs, transportation, and end-of-life) carbon-negative material, quantifiably reducing the amount of carbon in the air in every ounce manufactured.

Newlight GHG-to-Plastic Process

Capture: First, air and greenhouse gas (such as methane/carbon dioxide biogas) is directed into Newlight's patented conversion reactor.
Newlight GHG-to-Plastic™ Process
Isolate: Second, carbon and oxygen are removed from the air-GHG stream and isolated for polymerization.
Newlight GHG-to-Plastic™ Process
Polymerize: Finally, isolated carbon and oxygen are re-assembled into a long-chain thermopolymer.
Newlight GHG-to-Plastic™ Process

Newlight Technologies, LLC has been awarded a seventh patent related to the conversion of greenhouse gases, such as waste methane and carbon dioxide, into biodegradable PHA plastics.  The new patent joins the company's multi-layered and continually-expanding portfolio of intellectual property, which now includes seven U.S. and international patents and hundreds of additional filed patent claims. The company was founded in 2003 out of Princeton University and Northwestern University to convert greenhouse gas emissions into commercially useful materials. With almost a decade of multi-scale operations converting greenhouse gases into high-performance biodegradable plastics, Newlight has developed a deep and multi-layered patent portfolio covering the company's gas-to-plastic operations, including patented and patent-pending claims on:

  • Manufacturing biodegradable PHA-based plastics from greenhouse gases such as methane and carbon dioxide-based gases (including greenhouse gases from wastewater treatment plants, landfills, and energy facilities);
  • Producing, recycling, and regenerating greenhouse gas-based materials in a closed-loop sustainable system;
  • Converting waste methane and carbon dioxide-based gases into PHA-based biodegradable plastics in an auto-regulating, pressure-selection system at groundbreaking efficiencies;
  • Producing, operating, and regenerating the company's proprietary bio-based catalyst to enable the high-efficiency and cost-effective conversion of greenhouse gas into biodegradable plastic;
  • Greenhouse gas-based plastics made from the company's proprietary conversion systems and groundbreaking performance-enhancement processes;
  • Resin functionalization technologies used to overcome the classical performance limitations of PHA-based materials;
  • Product applications for the company's high-performance PHA-based plastics.
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