Innovation That Matters

On's technology converts carbon emissions into a foam material for shoe soles | Photo source On

Swiss shoe manufacturer leverages collaboration to create soles made from carbon emissions

Sport & Fitness

The shoes are believed to be the first to explore carbon emissions as a primary raw material

Spotted: Swiss sports company On has developed a new foam made from carbon emissions as part of its transition away from petroleum-based resources. The material is a versatile and lightweight foam called ethylene vinyl acetate (EVA), which is derived from captured industrial carbon emissions. EVA is currently used for the sole of the shoe, but in the future, the company also hopes to use carbon-based materials for other shoe parts.

On has spent four years working on the new foam technology, which is called CleanCloud. During this time, the company has focused on finding the right partners to help them fully commercialise the technology. These partnerships include a supply chain coalition with world-class biochemicals and plastics innovation leaders LanzaTech and Borealis.

On are able to leverage LanzaTech’s innovation in mechanical and chemical engineering, manufacturing chemicals through a process that soaks up carbon instead of emitting it. Jennifer Holmgren, CEO of LanzaTech said, “By converting pollution to products, we can see that someday everything in our daily lives will come from recycled carbon. We are excited to be on this journey with On and Borealis to bend the carbon curve, keep our skies blue, and create a sustainable future for all”.

As for Borealis, it provides circular and renewable plastic solutions which have allowed the creation of easy-to-process EVA foam for CleanCloud.

LanzaTech captures carbon monoxide from industrial sources before it is released into the atmosphere. Once the carbon monoxide has been captured, the emissions enter a patented fermentation process similar to beer-brewing. Bacteria ferment the gas, converting it into liquid ethanol. The ethanol is then dehydrated to create ethylene, which Borealis polymerises to create EVA. On is then able to use the EVA to create a performance foam for shoes. 

The aim is to apply CleanCloud to On’s entire Cloud range, the ROGER franchise collection and part of the company’s active lifestyle assortment.

Re-using captured carbon is an attractive solution that addresses both climate change and circularity. At Springwise, we have spotted several innovations made from captured carbon. These include petrochemical substitutes made from CO2, and jet fuel made from CO2.

Written By: Katrina Lane



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