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Novomer, Kodak Team Up to Turn CO2 into Plastic

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In this month’s issue of Fast Company, we looked at a startup and Cornell University spin-off Novomer, which claims it can make plastics from CO2 captured from factories. Now comes word that Novomer plans to make good on its claims with a little help from Kodak, which is teaming up with the plastics startup to make a pilot CO2-to-plastics facility.

The $800,000 project, funded in part by the NY State Energy Research and Development Authority, will use Novomer’s CO2-transforming techology in Kodak’s chemical reactors at its headquarters, located in Rochester, NY. Novomer’s proprietary catalysts will turn CO2 and petroleum products into polypropylene carbonate (PPC), a plastic material that can be used in film, food wrappers, soda bottles, and more.

The partnership is set to benefit both Novomer and Kodak–the startup will use idle Kodak equipment to make its plastics, which will get into the hands of large suppliers more quickly than if Novomer had to wait for larger partnerships with cement plants and coal power plants (both potential future sites for Novomer’s technology).

As it stands, plastics produced using Novomer’s process use only 50% petroleum. In the future, Novomer hopes to cut that number down to zero–making its plastic 100% CO2-based. But first Novomer has to prove that the technology works. Even if it doesn’t, plenty of other companies are waiting in the wings with CO2 storage technology, including Carbon Sciences and Calera. AS