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Producing vodka from CO2 emissions

American startup captures CO2 emissions from other companies to produce vodka in a new way, saving water and protecting the environment.

A bartender pours Air vodka, an alcohol made from CO2 emissions.  Photo: Nathaniel Lee/CNBC

A bartender pours Air vodka, an alcohol made from CO2 emissions. Image: Nathaniel Lee/CNBC

American company Air Company produces vodka from CO2, contributing to a “greener” future, CNBC reported on May 16. This is one of many new products designed to take advantage of CO2 emissions from a variety of industries.

“We work with partners to capture CO2 before it gets into the atmosphere, and then use this CO2 for winemaking,” said Gregory Constantine, co-founder and CEO of Air Company. In addition to vodka, Air Company also makes perfumes and hand sanitizers from exhaust gases.

Distilling alcohol the old-fashioned way not only produces emissions, but it also takes a lot of water – about 35 liters of water to make one liter of distillate. Meanwhile, Air vodka is made from only two ingredients, CO2 and water. The process involves separating hydrogen from water through electrolysis, releasing oxygen. The hydrogen is then fed into the “carbon conversion reactor” system along with the CO2. This process produces ethanol, which when combined with water becomes a type of vodka.

The new method from the Air Company’s lab is helpful for the environment, but the resulting product isn’t cheap either. Its vodka costs about $65 a bottle. At Bathtub Gin bar in Manhattan, this vodka is getting rave reviews.

Carbon capture is fast becoming a big industry as companies not only find ways to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, but also find ways to keep the remaining emissions from entering the atmosphere. The captured carbon is being used to make a wide variety of goods, from vodka to eyeglasses, laundry detergent, soft drinks, and even jet fuel.

Air Company will not stop at the production of vodka and perfume. Constantine plans to offer new products made from CO2 when the company opens its third production facility. “For us, vodka is a ‘gateway’ to other products, and then to industrial applications where our technology can be useful,” he said.

Thu Thao (According to CNBC)

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