News

Now you can wash your clothes with recycled carbon emissions

You might not know it, but you’re likely washing your clothes with ingredients made from fossil fuels But soon, you’ll be able to stop and do your laundry with a detergent made from recycled carbon emissions instead. While many surfactants—a key ingredient in detergents, which creates foam and allows dirt to be washed away—are derived from petroleum, a new laundry capsule from Unilever, which initially will be available in stores in China, uses surfactants made from captured industrial emissions.

The laundry capsules, available through the brand Omo and launching in China April 22, result from a partnership between Unilever, biotech company LanzaTech, and green chemical company India Glycols. LanzaTech, which has a commercial plant running in China that turns carbon emissions from a steel mill into ethanol, has already used its carbon recycling process to turn those emissions into jet fuel and alcohol for fragrances.

For these laundry detergents, LanzaTech will capture waste emissions and turn them into ethanol through a bioreactor in which bacteria eat those emissions, and then India Glycols will take that ethanol and turn it into ethylene oxide, a feedstock to make surfactants. Unilever says it’s the first time a surfactant made from captured carbon emissions will come to market in a cleaning product (surfactants are also used in cleaners such as dish soap).

MORE

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s