ARCHITECT Magazine featured Made of Air in its This Week in Tech feature:
"Berlin-based think-tank Elegant Embellishments, co-founded by architect Alison Dring and production expert Daniel Schwaag, has developed a biochar-based, carbon-negative building material made of 90 percent atmospheric carbon dioxide named Made of Air. The new material uses biomass, an organic waste, which absorbs and stores carbon dioxide. To produce Made of Air, the biomass is baked and stabilized through a pyrolysis (thermal decomposition) process in an oxygen-free oven. The baked carbon substance is then mixed with a biodegradable binder to create a carbon-negative material that can be molded and shaped into various forms, including façade panels. By the end of its life span, Made of Air can be shredded, and then sequestered in the soil. "Using or consuming products which have sequestered carbon reduces the amount of CO2 in the atmosphere," the company says on its website. "Inverting common assumptions of sustainability that consumption is bad for the environment."
Read the complete article here.
London-based design consultancy and materials library Material Driven has published an excellent piece with one of the most succinct explanations of the Made of Air material and how it is produced that we've read:
"In the context of climate change, and the growing awareness that the building industry contributes heavily to global emissions–the process of creating concrete alone accounts for an estimated 5 percent of human-caused carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions annually–there has been tremendous momentum to create carbon-negative materials and products. From green cement to substitutes for wood-based particle boards, to advanced self-healing materials (which either reduce CO2 generated over their lifetime or sequester it for their healing process)–carbon negativity is the motto of the day in architecture and construction."
"One such carbon negative material–tangible, scalable, and versatile–is Made of Air. The radical and new biochar-based material is robust, thermoplastic, and is composed of 90% atmospheric carbon. The dense, smooth, fire-retardant material presents itself as a sustainable alternative for use in construction, interiors, furniture and more."
"The starting point for Made of Air is waste biomass. Biomass is an organic material which comes from plants and animals. Throughout its lifetime biomass absorbs CO2 from the atmosphere, as well as sunlight, storing energy from the sun. Transforming this absorbed, fixed CO2 into a useable form is the next step. This waste biomass is baked to a stable form of carbon by pyrolysis, in an oxygen-free oven environment. This form of carbon is then mixed with a biodegradable binder to yield a moldable and carbon negative material. After being shaped into products for building facades or interiors, at the end of its lifecycle, the material can be shredded and sequestered in the earth. This cycle can be repeated continually, allowing for more and more atmospheric carbon to directed to the earth."
Read the full article here.
On November 23, 2018, Made of Air founders Allison Dring and Daniel Schwaag accepted the Govtechprize at the UAE Embassy in Berlin. Made of Air was chosen from around 20 start-ups focused on solving the problems of the world through innovation who all presented their projects during over the course of the two-day event.
With her convincing pitch, Allison was able to win over the panel of esteemed jurists. Made of Air was awarded US$10,000 for further development.
Next up: the global Govtechprize finals at the forthcoming World Gov Summit in Dubai, taking place 10-12 February, 2019!
Co-founder Allison Dring was interviewed by Monocle Magazine's "Monocle on Design" podcast as part of the "Why Materials Matter" series. Allison spoke about her work combatting urban pollution with Elegant Embellishment's facades as well as the potential for climate-impact in carbon-negative building materials such as Made of Air.
Global trend forecaster Stylus seems to understand the potential of Made of Air very well:
The Made of Air material is made from waste biomass that has absorbed CO2 during its lifetime (plants naturally absorb CO2 by photosynthesis). It’s baked in an oxygen-free oven to form a stable carbon char – a controlled process that means the material generates negative carbon emissions due to absorbing more carbon dioxide than it emits.
The result is a black, fire-retardant material that can be shaped into panels, reformed and recycled. Although it’s in the early stages of development, the material can be adapted to suit different applications, such as a replacement for fillers in products like plasterboard or for whole material products like cladding tiles.
The studio believes it has the potential to replace existing CO2-producing materials used in the construction industry, such as MDF board, while also acting as a carbon-negative material agent to help cut down the carbon footprint of building projects.
Read the full article here.
German newspaper Die Welt visited the Made of Air offices in Berlin to talk to co-founder Daniel Schwaag about the buidling materials of the future:
"Until we have completely switched over to renewable energies, we will have emitted too much CO² to limited global warming to below 2 degrees celsius." He doesn't think everyone will realistically start riding bicycles. Instead we have to actively remove carbon dioxide from the environment. For example, by making buildings out of it. Plants split the carbon dioxide in the air into its components carbon and oxygen. From the carbon they produce sugars and cellulose and build their cells. When they die they emit the carbon again. It combines with oxygen resulting in carbon dioxide or methane.
Carbon can be saved for 1,000 years. "We can sequester the carbon, which the plant removed from the environment, for much longer," Schwaag explains - through controlled controlled carbonizing. The carbon remains sequestered for up to 1,000 years. The process also produces heat. You gain a building material and energy.
Read the full article here.
Made of Air founders Allison Dring and Daniel Schwaag were interviewed by Wired Germany on how biochar can improve the climate impact of building materials:
Allison: "Normally, rotting plants release the CO² that they have captured through photosynthesis. During the production of biochar CO² is permanently fixed in the material and therefore removed from the atmosphere for thousands of years. The problem is that there are currently far too few applications for biochar to achieve a global reduction of CO². We mix with biochar with polymers and build facades out of it."
Daniel: "Urban construction uses a lot of materials. If we could reduce the amount of CO² in the atmosphere through building, architecture would not have to justify its use of materials."
Read the whole Wired interview (in German) here.