Newlight Technologies AirCarbon
We’ve known the future was plastics since The Graduate. But 50+ years of plastic has used up a lot of fossil-fuel oil and created a ton of noxious byproduct. In typical manufacturing, three times as much CO2 is created than actual usable plastic.
Newlight Technologies says its AirCarbon material—which has been in the works since 2003—is a plastic created by “sequestering [methane biogas-based] carbon emissions that would otherwise become part of the air.” It takes all that greenhouse gas and makes it into [thermoplastic] resin, suitable for all sorts of products, from furniture to packing film. It’s all based on decades-old science, but Newlight thinks its method is the first to make it cost effective.
Graphene Mass Production
Graphene as a material has been around a long time, hailed as the durable wonder-conductor that will replace silicon in microprocessors. Chips will be able to get ever smaller and more effective that way. One problem: making graphene in volume is a pain.
Several steps have been taken in the last year to change that. Samsung’s got a new technique to grow single crystal graphene right on silicon wafers—and it’s reusable. Researchers at the University of Dublin are attempting mechanical exfoliation of graphene, a souped-up version of how graphene was originally found using exfoliation via Scotch tape (for real). Finally, researchers at Chonbuk National University and the Korean Research Institute of Chemical Technology have worked out a way to get carbon fiber, a graphene substitute, in nanosheets used by solar cells. It’s a lot quicker (and leads to less degradation) than the CVD (Chemical Vapor Deposition) method used to create graphene today. All told, these are great steps. But we’re still several years away from chips made from the stuff.