Founded out of Princeton University and Northwestern University, Newlight Technologies developed a carbon capture process that captures methane emissions and carbon dioxide emissions and converts it into a PHA-based biopolymer material called AirCarbon. This conversion uses a proprietary biocatalyst derived from microorganisms. The AirCarbon is purified from the reactor system in the form of a pellet that can be melted and formed into shapes. Unlike most plastics that are produced by connecting molecules together in a reactor, PHAs (polyhydroxyalkanoates) are synthesised by microorganisms and are biodegradable in soil, freshwater and seawater.
In 2016 Newlight and IKEA entered a supply, collaboration and technology agreement in which IKEA will purchase 50% of the AirCarbon material and IKEA has exclusive rights within the home furnishings industry to use Newlight’s carbon capture technology for its home furnishing products.