SDBN Podcast: Turning Greenhouse Gases into Biodegradable Foodware

If you could capture greenhouse gases like CO2 or methane and turn them into usable products, what would you make?

There are a few challenges here. Which gas would you choose? What source would you use? And what market would you serve? This episode answers all of those questions.

I interviewed Mark Herrema, CEO of Newlight Technologies about AirCarbon, a material also known as PHB (Polyhydroxybutyrate).

You probably know that cows produce methane (by burping, it turns out – not the way you thought.) And methane is a more potent greenhouse gas than CO2. While it comes from cows, there are easier ways to collect it, like digesters.

Certain bacteria can use it to produce PHB, a compound found in many environments that can be melted and shaped into products like foodware (disposable utensils) or a leather replacement for the fashion industry. Other bacteria can produce it with CO2 as a starting point.

Wherever it comes from, if it ends up in the ocean (don’t throw your waste in there) it degrades quickly because the environment already “understands it”.

I found this interview fascinating from both a science and a startup perspective. Definitely give this one a listen.

Newlight Technologies

Mark Herrema