- Swiss sports brand creates supply chain coalition to reshape carbon waste into running shoes. Today, the next critical step in this project has been reached.
- On is revealing the first ever shoe made from carbon emissions
- Cloudprime is made from EVA foam that uses carbon monoxide emissions as a raw material.
- On is the first company in the footwear industry to explore using carbon emissions as a primary raw material for a shoe’s midsole.
- On is moving away from using fossil feedstock and exploring alternative materials for producing high-performance sports products.
- On is partnering with LanzaTech, Borealis and Technip Energies, three of the most innovative companies in biochemicals, process, and material innovation.
September, 19, 2022 - Swiss sports brand On has presented the first shoe made from carbon emissions, called Cloudprime. This is a significant moment in On’s journey to move away from petroleum-based resources by creating a new foam material called CleanCloud, made by using carbon monoxide emissions as a raw material. On is the first company in the footwear industry to explore carbon emissions as a primary raw material for a shoe’s midsole, specifically EVA (ethylene vinyl acetate) foam, that could also be used in other shoe parts and products in the future.
The sports brand envisions a future where every On product is fossil free and fully circular. CleanCloud is the result of five years of work, which began with finding partners. This collaborative approach is key to overcoming the challenges of developing this complex technology at a commercial scale.
“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 Executive Co-Chairman of On. “Five years ago, this was barely a dream. 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.”
CleanCloud is the result of a supply chain partnership with companies in biochemicals, process and material innovation, including LanzaTech, Borealis and Technip Energies. LanzaTech is using a combination of cutting-edge genetic engineering, state-of-the-art biotechnology, artificial intelligence, and innovations in mechanical and chemical engineering to manufacture chemicals using a process that soaks up waste carbon rather than emitting it.
“Today we continue our journey to show the world that recycled carbon is a resource rather than a liability,” says Jennifer Holmgren, CEO of LanzaTech. “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! The partnership between On, Borealis,Technip and LanzaTech will change how the world thinks about sourcing carbon, enabling us to bend the carbon curve, keep our skies blue, and create a sustainable future for all.”
Technip Energies is a leading engineering and technology company for the energy transition and in this consortium in charge of the process of dehydrating ethanol to the gas ethylene, which is a monomer and the most important building block of widely used plastics.
Bhaskar Patel, SVP Sustainable Fuels, Chemicals & Circularity at Technip Energies: “Technip Energies is proud to be supporting On in this exciting project to make CleanCloud a reality. The application of our Hummingbird technology to produce bio-ethylene is one step to a more sustainable future. We look forward to working with the On team to scale up and help bring CleanCloud to the world.”
Borealis is a leading provider of plastic solutions and essential in creating easy-to-process EVA foam for CleanCloud. This collaboration underlines Borealis’ commitment to a net zero future and aligns with its ambition of accelerating circularity through partnerships.
Lucrèce Foufopoulos, Borealis Executive Vice President Polyolefins, Circularity and Innovation & Technology: “Borealis is thrilled to be part of this unique value chain collaboration. With our creative partners On, LanzaTech, and Technip Energies we are proud to co-create circularity in carbon and decouple plastic from its reliance on fossil-based resources. Through innovation and collaboration, we continue re-inventing essentials for sustainable living.”
This is how it works: Technology from LanzaTech captures carbon monoxide emitted from industrial sources like steel mills before being released into the atmosphere. Once captured, these emissions enter a patented fermentation process. Thanks to specially selected and naturally occurring bacteria, the carbon rich gas ferments naturally and is converted to ethanol. This natural fermentation process is similar to that of conventional alcohol production – e.g., beer brewing. The ethanol is then dehydrated to create ethylene by Technip Energies, which is then polymerized by Borealis to become EVA (ethylene vinyl acetate) in a form of solid small plastic pellets – the versatile and lightweight material that On starts working with to create a performance foam for shoes.
On’s ambition is to bring the CleanCloud technology to as many consumers as possible in the near future. “We believe that On can be an agent for positive change through enabling and accelerating the scale up of sustainable technologies such as CleanCloud”, says Caspar Coppetti.
Driven by the same spirit of sustainable innovation, On is collaborating with circular start-up Novoloop on the CleanCloud outsole, by utilizing the world’s first chemically upcycled TPU from post-consumer plastic waste. The outsole was put under rigorous lab and athlete testing, meeting specifications comparable to fossil derived TPUs with a significant carbon footprint reduction. For the upper, On is collaborating with the young French start-up Fairbrics to create a polyester-based textile made from carbon emissions.
Borealis is one of the world’s leading providers of polyolefin solutions and a European front-runner in polyolefins recycling. In Europe, it is a market leader in base chemicals and fertilizers and offers solutions for key industries such as consumer products, energy, healthcare, infrastructure and mobility.
In re-inventing essentials for sustainable living, we build on our commitment to safety, our people, innovation and technology, and performance excellence. With head offices in Vienna, Austria, Borealis employs 6,900 employees and operate in over 120 countries, having generated total sales of EUR 12.342 EUR billion and a net profit of EUR 1,396 million in 2021. OMV, the Austria-based international oil and gas company, owns 75% of its shares, while the remaining 25% is owned by a holding company of the Abu-Dhabi based Mubadala.
On was born in the Swiss Alps with one goal: to revolutionize the sensation of running by empowering all to run on clouds. Twelve years after market launch, On delivers industry-disrupting innovation in premium footwear, apparel, and accessories for high-performance running, outdoor, and all-day activities.
On is present in more than 60 countries globally.
LanzaTech harnesses the power of biology and big data to create climate-safe materials and fuels. With expertise in synthetic biology, bioinformatics, artificial intelligence, and machine learning coupled with engineering, LanzaTech has created a platform that converts waste carbon into new everyday products that would otherwise come from virgin fossil resources. LanzaTech’s first two commercial scale gas fermentation plants have produced over 50 million gallons of ethanol, which is the equivalent of offsetting the release of 190,000 metric tons of CO2 from the atmosphere. Additional plants are under construction globally. LanzaTech is based in Illinois, USA.
Technip Energies is a leading Engineering & Technology company for the energy transition, with leadership positions in sustainable chemistry, circularity, ethylene, Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG) and hydrogen, as well as growing market positions in blue and green hydrogen and CO2 management. The company operating in 34 countries and employs 15,000 people.
Novoloop is a chemical start-up innovating post-consumer plastic waste into performance materials. The venture-backed company is building and scaling new technologies to transform hard-to-recycle plastic waste into applications for footwear, sporting goods, and the automotive industries.
Fairbrics is a startup with the mission to fight climate change by developing circular manufacturing processes, which use renewable resources instead of petroleum-based ones. Its first product, Airwear, produce polyester yarn with a very low carbon footprint. After being captured from industrial sources or from the air, greenhouse gas CO2 is converted to a raw material of polyester by using special catalysts, then polymerized to create polyester pellets which are then spun into yarn and finally into fabrics. In the near future this technology aims to produce carbon negative 100% sustainable polyester. Fairbrics is building our first industrial facility with the ambition to solve the main challenges of the fashion industry, namely carbon neutrality, circularity and profitability.