A US start-up called Air Company has released the world’s first carbon-negative spirit, Air Vodka, made with only two ingredients: carbon dioxide (CO2) and water.
Air Company was founded in 2017 by Constantine, a former executive at Diageo, and Stafford Sheehan, who holds a PhD in chemistry from Yale University. The pair met at bar during a Forbes 30 Under 30 trip in 2016.
While vodka is usually made from fermenting foods containing sugar or starch, Air Vodka uses its own patented distillation system that runs on renewable solar electricity to take CO2 from the air and turn it into pure ethanol.
“The process uses the same principles as photosynthesis in plants, but does so more efficiently,” Sheehan told Popular Mechanics.
Every bottle of the vodka soaks up as much carbon dioxide from the atmosphere as eight fully grown trees, according to Constantine.
The result is an 80-proof premium vodka that’s so pure that British GQ has described it as tasting “almost like water” and “clean and crisp like a shard of light.” It’s also sugar-free, carbohydrate-free, gluten-free and impurity-free.
The company recommends drinking Air Vodka on the rocks or in a cocktail that won’t detract from its clean flavour, such as the martini.
Air Vodka was a finalist in the 2020 NRG COSIA Carbon XPRIZE, a global competition that recognises breakthrough technologies capable of converting CO2 emissions into usable products. Time magazine also named it as one of its 100 Best Inventions of 2020.