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Lisa Dyson

[Photo: Maurice Dean]

Most Creative People 2017

Lisa Dyson

Cofounder and CEO, Kiverdi

For converting CO₂ into food

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].”

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