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☁️ Carbon-Negative Fabric Made from Carbon Emissions

My Climate Journey

Photo by Ekaterina Grosheva / Unsplash

Table of Contents

Host: Jason Jacobs
Guest: Neeka Mashouf | CEO & Co-Founder | Rubi
Category: ☁️ Carbon Reduction | Carbon-Negative Fabric

Podcast’s Essential Bites:

[4:30] “Rubi focuses on decarbonizing supply chains focused first on fashion. We turn carbon emissions into carbon negative materials using a technology we've developed that's inspired by how trees work. So trees breathe in CO2, and then they turn that CO2 into all their useful components and molecules. We take a similar approach where we're able to take CO2 and turn it into all the important molecules we use as a society for our most important products, like cellulose, which we use for textiles. That's really our first chapter is making textiles that are carbon negative and water and land neutral using a completely new production process.”

[5:50] “You can't put Rubi in a box. […] But maybe one of the closest things would be a carbon to value company, where we're building a platform, beyond just fashion beyond just a first chapter in a certain market that can turn CO2 into materials in a carbon, negative water and land neutral way. And I'd say the difference between us versus some other carbon to value companies, [is] we have a unique technology that's powered by enzymes, which are nature's most powerful molecules, in my opinion […]. And they have so many benefits that we leverage in our technology that helps us achieve carbon negativity and really high energy efficiency, low costs, and be able to make natural products.”

[20:36] “The majority of major brands in fashion have set aggressive carbon reduction, carbon neutrality, or carbon negativity goals even over the next 10 to 30 years, but they don't have any clear path to achieving them. […] Right now, you just can't be an apparel company and not have crazy emissions and the majority of it comes from textile production. […] So there is a strong demand, but not a lot of solutions out there that could actually take the requirements and needs of fashion brands to heart in developing a solution. And so that's what we really focused on doing with building a product that could meet all the needs of fashion brands […], quality, scalability costs, they all need to be there. And then of course, the sustainability factor that's going to make it carbon negative and be a turnkey, sustainable supply chain, they can just adopt and really be able to hit their sustainability goals.”

[22:43] “It's a pretty often overlooked area of industry in terms of climate and sustainability. Fashion is the third most CO2 polluting supply chain on the planet. […] When you look at the attention that it's getting from the climate community, it really doesn't reflect that. It's much more than any freight or auto or transportation emissions.”

[23:46] “We focus on natural materials, because we want to make a product that can live in harmony with the planet and not pollute. So looking into some natural materials as a comparison, cotton and viscose today come from plants […]. And basically the process is that the raw material is grown and uses an insane amount of water, 300 liters of water per kilogram of cotton, and a lot of water for trees too.”

[26:02] “What Rubi allows us to do is basically directly turn CO2 into the target molecules needed to make textiles. So we skip all of the plant growing and harvesting and processing steps that contribute the majority of the CO2 impact across this supply chain. We directly turn CO2 into cellulose, which is a drop-in into the next steps, which are fiber spinning, yarn spinning and textile manufacturing. Because we can directly make that molecule from CO2, we not only save a significant amount of carbon that would have been emitted by the traditional manufacturing process, we also can directly sequester the CO2 in the material and actually end up being net negative in emissions after considering things like energy use and transportation and other things like that as well. […] It allows us to sort of become resource independent. There's no land usage virtually, there's no water usage virtually. And the carbon impact is negative.

[27:31] “We actually make the same exact textiles that fashion brands are already using today. […] We're not making a new type of bio material or whatever, that has a lot of performance risks. […] The problem isn't right now material properties, it's the sustainability of the supply chain. And so we really wanted to focus on making the same materials that fashion brands are already using, but through reinventing the supply chain to be planet positive. So there's actually no real product risk on the other side of performance or scalability or eventually cost. It's really just changing the way that it's made.”

[30:00] “Our special sauce is really on this tech that covers carbon capture all the way to utilization. […] We see it as a platform technology. We're starting first with cellulose and cellulosic materials like textiles, but it is applicable and scalable to other materials like proteins, lipids, so you can imagine food, bio plastics, and all the other biological macromolecules.”

Rating: ⚡⚡⚡⚡

🎙️ Full Episode: Apple | Spotify | Google (Original Title: "Startup Series: Rubi")
🕰️ 1 hr 1 min | 🗓️ 04/21/2022
✅ Time saved: 59 min

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