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On using carbon as a resource for new running shoe

The sports shoe manufacturer On has succeeded, together with its partners LanzaTech, Borealis and Technip Energies, in transforming industrial carbon into plastic pellets before it is released into the air. This bioethylene is now being used in a new running shoe.

On has presented the first ever shoe made from carbon emissions.
On has presented the first ever shoe made from carbon emissions. Image credit: On

On has presented the first ever shoe made from carbon emissions: the Cloudprime. To achieve this, the Zurich-based company has developed a new foam material, made from plastic pellets, by the name of CleanCloud together with its partners LanzaTech, based in the US State of Illinois, the Vienna-based Borealis and Technip Energies headquartered in Paris, further details of which can be found in a press release. To produce the pellets, industrial carbon monoxide is captured and then subjected to a fermentation process before the carbon is released into the air.

With this very light and colorless EVA (ethylene vinyl acetate) foam, a bioethylene, On produces a midsole for the Cloudprime. In the future, this bioethylene could also be used for other shoe parts and products, On claims in the press release. According to the sports shoe manufacturer, the vision centers around “a future where every On product is fossil free and fully circular”.

Five years ago, On began searching for partners to form a supply chain coalition of the most innovative companies from areas such as biochemistry and process and material innovations, with the aim of transforming carbon emissions into running shoes. “Holding the first-ever shoe made of carbon emissions in my hands is a huge milestone – not only for On, but for the whole sports industry”, explains Caspar Coppetti, co-founder and co-CEO of On, in the press release. “Imagine what can happen in the future as we unlock the potential of alternative carbon sources with further research and in collaboration with the best partners”, he adds.

Today, this coalition of partners is showing the world that “recycled carbon is a resource rather than a liability”, according to Jennifer Homgren, CEO of the North American firm LanzaTech, which specializes in the area of gas fermentation. She adds: “As we increasingly convert pollution into the products we use in our daily lives, we will reduce the need to extract more carbon from the ground”.

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