The Problem: Scientists and activists have focused on reducing carbon dioxide emissions, but few have looked to reuse CO2 that has already been released into the air.
The Epiphany: Physicist Lisa Dyson was exploring new techniques to recycle CO2 with John Reed, a former colleague from the Department of Energy’s Berkeley Lab, when they stumbled upon NASA research from the 1960s that looked at how microbes aboard spacecraft could absorb CO2 from astronauts’ breath and be turned into food.
The Execution: After founding the company in 2008, they began using the NASA technique to develop microbe-based alternatives to palm oil and citrus oil. They also created a protein replacement for use in food and animal feed.
The Result: Kiverdi is now working to make other products using recycled CO2. “If we show companies this is environmentally and economically sustainable,” Dyson says, “they’re going to choose [it].”