As part of our effort to source 100 percent of our packaging materials from sustainable materials, Dell has turned to Newlight Technologies’ AirCarbon® for a pilot project to manufacture protective bags that incorporate captured carbon emissions that would have otherwise become part of the air.

Today most plastics are made exclusively from oil or other fossil fuel derivatives.

In fact, around 4 percent of the world’s oil production is used as feedstock to make plastics, with a similar amount consumed as energy in the process.

AirCarbon is different.

AirCarbon is a thermoplastic material made by combining industrial sources of methane-based carbon emissions, such as methane from dairy farms, digesters and landfills, with air to produce a thermoplastic polymer.

Using a process developed by Newlight over 10 years of research and now operating at commercial scale, Newlight uses a biocatalyst to carry out a carbon sequestration process in a water-based reactor, where carbon emissions are combined with air and converted into long-chain thermoplastic polymers by a biocatalyst at a yield that is 9 times higher than previous technologies—thereby providing a solution that does not increase cost relative to the oil-based process, but in fact enables cost reduction.
aircarbon infographic
Once produced, AirCarbon can then be used as a standalone material or incorporated into existing materials, such as Dell’s linear low density polyethylene (LLDPE) bags, resulting in products that capturecarbon that would normally become part of the air we breathe and use that carbon to displace oil.

 

By capturing methane emissions, which are over 20 times more potent then carbon dioxide emissions as a greenhouse gas, AirCarbon is independently verified by SCS Global Services to sequester more carbon dioxide equivalent greenhouse gas than is emitted to produce it, meaning it is a carbon sequestration material on a net basis.

 

Dell is the first in the IT industry to use AirCarbon. While the initial pilot project will focus on packaging – specifically for the protective bags for Dell Latitude notebooks shipped to the U.S. and Canada – AirCarbon’s functional flexibility makes it attractive for other possible uses with Dell products.

 

Our use of AirCarbon will also help Dell work toward our zero-waste packaging goals that are a part of our Dell 2020 Legacy of Good Plan. AirCarbon will join other packaging solutions derived from bamboo, mushrooms and wheat en route to a 2020 packaging profile that is 100 percent sourced from sustainable materials and 100 percent recyclable or compostable.