Gregory Constantine is co-founder and CEO at Air Company, a Brooklyn-based engineering firm that developed carbon-conversion technology that removes carbon dioxide from the air and transforms it into impurity-free alcohols, which it then uses to manufacture consumer goods.
“We use CO2 that is captured prior to being emitted into the atmosphere, helping to curb the planet’s atmospheric CO2 levels.”
How did you first move to New York and what makes New York a great city to start a company? (Gregory Constantine) I’m originally from Australia, where I attended the University of Sydney and started my career in the music industry, managing musicians and music festivals. I moved to New York in 2014 and was recruited to work at one of the world’s most prominent alcohol companies. Fast forward a few years, I met my now business partner, Dr. Stafford Sheehan, on an overseas Forbes 30 Under 30 trip. This is where we began early discussions around the initial concept for Air Company. New York has always been an international hub for innovation and forward-thinking. Here, we’re able to work with the most talented scientists and researchers while developing strategic relationships with key players in the tech, consumer goods and climate solutions spaces from around the world. It only made sense that we laid the foundation for our company here.
Please explain what Air Company’s mission is and how its CO2 conversion technology works. (GC) Air Company’s mission is to utilise as much carbon dioxide as possible while preventing additional carbon dioxide from being released into the atmosphere, all in an effort to slow the momentum of climate change. The values we stand upon are rooted in utilising technology, creative innovation, and consumer goods to help solve that problem, while creating an equitable future for all.
(GC) We’re providing a viable solution for tackling climate change by repurposing carbon emissions and converting them into products of value. We use CO2 that is captured prior to being emitted into the atmosphere, helping to curb the planet’s atmospheric CO2 levels. We invented a Carbon Conversion Reactor that transforms CO2 into impurity-free, carbon-negative alcohols. The inputs are air (CO2), water, and sun (renewable energy) with oxygen and water as the only byproducts. Our technology mimics photosynthesis, but more efficiently. We then use these alcohols as the base of both consumer and commercial goods, from vodka to fragrance, all of which we use as R&D for industry applications.
“We’re demonstrating how premium products can continue to be made, but with less environmental impact.”
What consumer goods are available currently made from CO2 and why is it important to make products available directly to consumers? (GC) To date, we have brought three consumer products to market: Air Vodka, Air Spray Hand Sanitizer and Air Eau de Parfum. Sectors like spirits and beauty are massive contributors to greenhouse gas emissions. By applying our technology to these industries, we’re demonstrating how premium products can continue to be made, but with less environmental impact. These consumer products allow us to show the world what’s possible, educate our consumers on climate change and carbon technologies, and ultimately reshape the future of production.
What motivates you to tackle and solve the problem in the climate change sector? (GC) Climate change is undoubtedly the most significant and urgent challenge facing humankind today. Carbon dioxide emissions are at their highest levels in 23 million years, exacerbated by increased carbon dioxide levels in the atmosphere and a decreased efficiency of natural processes to sequester carbon. Addressing climate change relies on a number of factors, including the rapid deployment and implementation of carbon utilisation technologies. There’s a massive push for climate technology and revised practices in this space to help create a sustainable planet for us now and for the future. Our technology proves that a widespread transition to carbon-negative production methods is not only feasible but is the future across various industries.
Air Company has a nice high-end design company feel to it. Please explain the idea of global branding and creative direction of the firm. (GC) Design is a main pillar of our brand and our strategy. We use design to show our consumers that they don’t have to compromise on quality or design when purchasing sustainably. Further, we design using minimalism so as to not use any unnecessary materials and to allow our product value to speak for itself. By doing this, we’ve also created means for our products to have a second life beyond their initial use.
What is your next goal? (GC) Our goal continues to be to show the world that a decarbonised future is possible. This year, we’re going to continue disrupting the consumer goods space, pushing our climate communications/education efforts, and scaling our technology for global applications. We’re expanding to a larger facility in Brooklyn which will house our newest piece of technology that operates at a much higher capacity than the first. With 10x the output of our current system, the goal for this facility is to rapidly scale and increase our supply to meet consumer demand, while also transitioning into industrial sectors.