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Game on as On announces "CleanCloud" to keep carbon emissions under heel

Swiss sports brand On AG has announced a move away from petroleum-based resources by creating a new foam material in partnership with LanzaTech and Borealis. Called "CleanCloud" it's made using carbon emissions as a raw material making On possibly the first footwear company to explore carbon emissions as a primary raw material source for a shoe bottom unit. Specifically, ethylene-vinyl acetate copolymer (EVA) foam, which could also be used in other shoe parts and products in the future.

On AG is moving away from petroleum-based resources by creating a new foam material in partnership with LanzaTech and Borealis. Called “CleanCloud” it’s made using carbon emissions as a raw material making On possibly the first footwear company to explore carbon emissions as a primary raw material source for a shoe bottom unit. Specifically, ethylene-vinyl acetate copolymer (EVA) foam, which could also be used in other shoe parts and products in the future (photo courtesy On).

On is convinced that innovation is pivotal to cutting greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. CleanCloud is the result of a partnership with some of the most innovative companies in biochemicals and plastics innovation, including LanzaTech and Borealis, adopting a collaborative approach to overcome the challenges of connecting these technologies at a commercial scale.

It’s a win-win situation: we are capturing emissions before they pollute our atmosphere and are at the same time moving away from fossil-based materials. Innovation is at the heart of our brand, and after four years of intense research, we are very proud to announce this supply chain coalition with our world-class partners LanzaTech and Borealis, explained Caspar Coppetti, Co-Founder and Executive Co-Chairman of On.

LanzaTech is using a combination of cutting-edge genetic engineering, state-of-the-art artificial intelligence, and innovations in mechanical and chemical engineering, to manufacture chemicals using a process that soaks up carbon rather than emits it.

We are showing the world what is possible when we rethink how we source, use and dispose of carbon. 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, said Dr Jennifer Holmgren, CEO of LanzaTech.

Borealis is a leading provider of advanced, circular, and renewable plastic solutions and is essential in creating high-performance, easy-to-process EVA foam for CleanCloud. This collaboration allows Borealis to further advance its journey in carbon and plastics circularity and is fully in line with its “EverMinds” ambition.

Borealis is thrilled to be part of the unique, first-of-its-kind CleanCloud initiative. With our creative partners On and Lanzatech, we are proud to co-create circularity in carbon and decouple plastic from its reliance on fossil feedstock. Through innovation and collaboration, we continue re-inventing for more sustainable living, said Lucrèce Foufopoulos, EVP Polyolefins, Innovation & Circular Economy Solutions at Borealis.

Carbon capture, fermentation, and dehydration

Technology from LanzaTech captures carbon monoxide (CO) emitted from industrial sources like steel mills or emissions from landfill sites before being released into the atmosphere.

Once captured, these emissions enter a patented fermentation process. Thanks to specially selected bacteria, the carbon-rich gas ferments naturally and is converted to liquid ethanol by the bacteria in a process similar to that of conventional alcohol products such as beer brewing.

The ethanol is then dehydrated to create ethylene, which is then polymerized by Borealis to become an ethylene-vinyl acetate copolymer (EVA) – the versatile and lightweight material that On starts working with to create a performance foam for shoes.

Known for its innovation in the running shoe industry and a proven pioneer in sustainable material innovation, the overall goal is to exchange all bottom units from On shoes currently made from EVA with CleanCloud. This includes the whole Cloud range, THE ROGER franchise collection, and a part of the active lifestyle assortment.

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