With nothing but air and water, a beverage company by the name of Air Co. has developed a way to produce carbon-negative vodka without grains or yeast. Here’s how it works: using renewable electricity, Air Co. turns carbon from the air into pure ethanol, by electrically splitting water into carbon and oxygen. The carbon, oxygen, and hydrogen atoms are re-formed on a metal-based catalyst, and voila! Pure ethanol.
Then, using a custom-built, 18-plate vodka still, followed by a few trade-secret processes, the company is able to purify and dilute the ethanol to a 40 percent alcohol-by-volume vodka. The process uses the same principles as photosynthesis in plants but does so more efficiently.
Air Co. takes some pains to produce a product that is an emblem of sustainability. Besides eschewing the energy claims of traditional farming and distilling, the company sources CO2 from clean emitters in the northeast, such as existing ethanol plants, minimizing the cost of capture. The brand also relies entirely on renewable energy and uses labels with no heavy metals or chemicals.
Overall, the vodka brand estimates it sucks the equivalent of 7.5-trees worth of carbon with the product of each bottle. So, if you are ever going to have a shot of vodka, make sure to support the people over at Air Co. for their squeaky clean distilling technique.