TECHNOLOGY

Covalent’s carbon-capturing sunglasses show the future of fashion


Leather a Controversial material, and not just because he has to die to produce cows. Or tanning skin requires toxic chemicals such as chromium, which are sometimes dumped directly into local waterways. No, according to environmentalists, the worst aspect of the skin is that it is a major contributor to climate change.

Livestock farming is estimated to be responsible for 14.5 percent of the world’s greenhouse gas emissions. Kering, a luxury fashion association that owns leather-loving brands such as Gucci and Eves Saint Laurent, said in its 2020 environmental report that leather production and processing is the biggest contributor to its carbon footprint. And when the Amazon fire broke out in 2019, the fire was at least partly responsible for managing livestock, and several big brands, including H&M and Timberland, pledged to cut off leather supplies from the region.

The options available to the fashion industry, however, are-fossil-fuel-based polyurethane and PVC কিছু leaving some to be preferred. All of the plant-based vegan skins, whose manufacturers claim to emit less greenhouse gases during production, also blend in with synthetic petroleum products, which is more harmful than their “cruelty-free” marketing. With all the press around Adidas and Stella McCartney product prototypes, you’ll be forgiven for thinking you can already buy a lab-produced leather wallet or a mushroom leather Stan Smith sneaker, but those materials are still struggling to commercialize.

For now, there is only one truly innovative and eco-friendly vegan “leather” that you can click to buy directly from the internet. Aircarbon, a carbon-negative component made using methane-munching marine organisms, came on the market a year ago in the form of sunglasses, wallets and laptops and phone sleeves.

In an industry known for the drop of the most magical product (another recycled water bottle jacket, anyone?), The reception of a new brand called Covalent was surprisingly nuted. This could probably be attributed to Mark Herrema of Newlight Technologies, the chief executive of the Aircarbon-making startup, who brought the coolest environment in California to our interview. When I noticed his comfortable approach, he smiled and mentioned that he has been working on making this material for a full 18 years. And however, with six rounds of funding under his belt, the latest being 45 million, he has crossed the hype stage and the “just do it” stage.

Literally: In August, NewLight announced a partnership with Nike to explore the uses of aircarbon. Nike, which claims that its materials cover up to 100 percent of its emissions, is one of the many big fashion brands that has pledged to reduce its greenhouse gas emissions by at least 100 percent by 20 green.

Herma said the idea would eventually lead to Aircarbon when she was at Princeton in the early 2000s. He was studying politics, but some digestive problems led him to start research on food and diet. He learned that a cow could enter up to 500 liters of methane per day, an extremely powerful greenhouse gas. He imagined the market value of that methane – from a large farm to more than 20,000 20,000 per year – evaporating in the air and seeing business opportunities.

As can be seen, a hundred years ago, scientists discovered that there are some organisms that eat greenhouse gases and store that energy inside their cells in the form of a molecule called polyhydroxybutyrate, or PHB. “And this molecule, when you dissociate it, shows that it is soluble,” Herima says. This means that it can be applied to all types of materials, from leather-like sheets to fibers and sunglasses to any solid color.



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