Turning air into scent – The New York Times


Carbon emissions – the villainous by-product of so many industries – are the greenhouse gas most responsible for climate change. Emissions play a key role in our extreme weather conditions and in many general environmental disasters that are becoming more frequent.

While capping carbon dioxide is not dumped freely into the atmosphere turns into a very long deliberation among our world leaders, capturing and reusing it is another option. And this alternative has been shown to be promising by Air Company, a four-year-old start-up that uses carbon dioxide in all the products it creates. His latest creation is a perfume – Air Eau de Parfum – and the first perfume composed largely of air.

The scent involves an alcohol base which, when combined with a little water and a measured ratio of scent oil, becomes the juice that you spray on your pulse points so that you radiate the aroma that you desire. Ethyl alcohol (or ethanol) is the most widely used because it is inexpensive, has a neutral odor, and evaporates quickly, so it serves as an effective delivery vehicle for the scent oil.

What Air Company is able to do is turn carbon dioxide into a very pure form of ethanol. And with the addition of water and scent oil, you get a scent that’s mostly air.

“We believe that products are one of the best ways to educate people about a much bigger story‚ and that story is climate change, “wrote by email Gregory Constantine, founder and CEO of the company. . “When you are able to create tangible products, it’s easier for people to understand the power of technology and what we can do with our carbon conversion technology. “

This technology was developed by Stafford Sheehan, founder and CTO of Air Company. After meeting in 2017, Dr Sheehan and Mr Constantine teamed up to reuse the most abundant greenhouse gas (carbon dioxide) into products that are not harmful to the planet.

Air Eau de Parfum is the company’s third consumer product. It started with spirits – vodka in 2019 – then disinfectant spray in 2020, the year of hand sanitization.

The scent itself was formulated and blended by Joya Studio, a design studio in Brooklyn specializing in custom scents. Fresh and crunchy, it recalls a flash of sunlight through a cloud, with a mineral hint of sea spray.

If that sounds like the title screen of a BBC nature documentary, that’s kind of the point.

“We wanted to allow people to reconnect with the outdoors and with nature, especially after spending such a long time indoors during the pandemic,” Constantine said in the email, noting that the air, water and sun are the elements that make up their technology. Consider these elements as the olfactory signature of the brand.

If you are looking for a more traditional distribution of the scent, the juice has top notes of fig leaf and orange peel, with middle notes of jasmine, violet and freshwater in the middle and musk and powdered tobacco base.

The perfume is not marketed for a specific gender. It’s available for pre-order on aircompany.com for $ 220 for 50 milliliters, and the company plans to ship it in early 2022.

Air Company is what Constantine calls “source agnostic,” which means it gets its CO2 from multiple suppliers, as well as direct capture from the air. One of those partners is an industrial alcohol plant in New York City, which recovers carbon dioxide (which would otherwise be released into the atmosphere) from its fermentation processes. This CO2 is cooled, pressurized, liquefied and conditioned in tanks before being delivered to one of Air Company’s Air Innovation facilities in Brooklyn.

Mr Constantine explained that a bottle of Air Eau de Parfum uses around 56 grams of CO2, resulting in a net environmental disposal of 36 grams taking into account its manufacturing processes, including life cycle emissions from renewable electricity, production equipment and carbon dioxide capture.

As pleasurable as alcoholic beverages and eco-friendly fragrances can be, one could suggest that they may not be the most beneficial uses for this technological innovation. Air Company has bigger ambitions, however.

“The opportunities for using carbon emissions are as big and broad as we want them to be,” said Constantine, adding that the company was working with industry partners to set its technology on more global ambitions for much greater impact. important.

Air Company won a 2019 NASA conversion competition by successfully turning carbon dioxide into sugar, and the company hopes to help develop a carbon-neutral jet fuel that could replace liquid methane, a non-reusable fossil fuel.

“We understand that our climate impact is still somewhat minimal, but if we were to apply our technology to all applicable industries, we would negate global CO2 emissions by just over 10% for a single technology,” Mr. Constantine.


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