Under the agreement, Ikea will purchase 50% of the material from Newlight's 23,000 metric ton per year plant in the United States, and with Ikea subsequently gaining exclusive rights in the home furnishings industry to use Newlight's carbon capture technology to convert biobased greenhouse gases, first from biogas and later from carbon dioxide, into AirCarbon thermoplastics for use in its home furnishing products.
The AirCarbon plants currently run using biogas from landfills as their sole carbon feedstock inputs. The AirCarbon produced today is a PHA material made by using air with methane-based carbon emissions as a feedstock input. The result is a material that is approximately 40% oxygen from air and 60% carbon and hydrogen from captured methane emissions by weight. It is the first thermoplastic from air and methane emissions that can match the performance of oil-based plastics and—says Newlight—can out-compete on price.
Newlight and Ikea will work together to identify and select the low cost carbon sources and development of the technology to use a range of renewable substrates, with a long term goal to develop capacities up to 453 KTA or 1 billion pounds per year. Over time, expansion into other AirCarbon feedstocks, such as carbon dioxide, will also be explored.
"Ikea wants to contribute to a transformational change in the industry and to the development of plastics made from renewable sources,” said Minh Nguyen Hoang, Category Manager of Plastics at Ikea of Sweden. The company has previously released statements saying that its sustainability goals include completely moving away from virgin fossil based plastic materials by the year 2020, in favor of recycled plastic or plastic produced from renewable sources such as biogas, sugar wastes and other renewable carbon sources. The company is starting with their home furnishing plastic products, representing about 40% of the total plastic volume used in the Ikea range.
“We believe our partnership with Newlight has the potential, once fully scaled, to be an important component of our multi-pronged effort to provide Ikea's customers with affordable plastics products made from renewable resources," said Hoang.
Added CEO of Newlight, Mark Herrema: "Ikea's partnership with Newlight marks an important shift in how the world can make materials: from fossil fuels to captured carbon, from consumption to generation, from depletion to restoration. Ikea is a leader in the concept of harnessing its operations to improve the world, and we are proud to be a part of that effort."