The climate gas carbon dioxide could be used as a raw material for a sustainable vodka or for tangible products like yogamates.
Also, filters that can capture and store CO2 with the help of renewable energy sources are possible: The start-ups that have applied for the prestigious award for the most innovative use of climate gas at the nova Institute's digitally-held 8th Conference on Carbon Dioxide as Feedstock for Fuels, Chemistry and Polymers show how carbon dioxide can be useful.
The new solutions are now increasingly benefiting end-users, for whom sustainability is important.
The winner of the "Best CO2 utilization 2020" award is the American start-up Air Company from New York, turning the climate gas CO2 into high-quality alcohol using a new technology.
First application is a sustainable vodka.
The start-up receives marketing and PR support.
A total of 13 young companies participated in the contest, which Covestro is supporting for the second time as its main sponsor together with nova Institute and the industry organisation CO2 Value Europe.
Five business ideas from four nations were shortlisted and were reviewed online by the approximately 100 participants of the conference.
Sucheta Govil, Chief Commercial Officer of Covestro, responsible for innovation, awarded the winner during the online conference: "Start-ups like Air Company are crucial to ensure that CO2 is no longer seen as a problem only, but as a solution.
"The ideas presented by the innovative start-ups demonstrate how a meaningful use of CO2 adds value throughout the value chain.
"While we use carbon dioxide as a resource, our customers develop products out of CO2 that are particularly attractive to end users."
Even in the current challenging situation due to the spread of the Coronavirus, developers and founders worldwide continue to work on solutions for climate protection.
"This year's conference shows how important research on the use of CO2 is for sustainable development and that ambitious researchers make important contributions, which are recognised by our prize," stressed Michael Carus, Director of the nova Institute and organiser of the online conference.
Covestro already successfully uses carbon dioxide as a raw material.
Since 2016, the material manufacturer has been using CO2 to produce polyols as a component for soft polyurethane foam.
This is used to produce mattresses and so carbon dioxide finds its way to the end consumer.
Within the framework of the Carbon4PUR research project, the company, together with partners, continues to focus on the goal of enhancing the use of waste gases from steel production to manufacture polyurethane.