Why not take something that is killing us, the wildlife, and the environment and make some good use out of it? 75% of this shoe is made of recycled carbon emissions captured from a fossil fuel burning power plant and turned into a special polymer that makes up the foam in the sole. The shoe is named “Shoe Without a Footprint”. Because the foam in a sole takes of most of a shoe’s weight, the total carbon footprint of the prototype is close to nothing. The zero-carbon sneaker has been produced in 5 pairs only, it is not available for sale but gives us hope that carbon capture technologies can be effectively used in consumer goods sooner than we think.
The “Shoe Without a Footprint” project is part of the NRG sponsored Carbon XPrize competition that challenges bright minds to invent ways to turn carbon emissions into useful products.
Recycled CO2 is not a new concept and is already in use in industry. In Iceland, a chemical plant turns carbon dioxide into methanol. In Texas, a startup uses CO2 to manufacture materials used in coatings and adhesives. A Massachusetts company uses CO2 to make polymers. Japanese manufacturers are using it to make polycarbonate, a harder type of plastic. But many of the current processes are too expensive or use too much energy. The XPrize hopes to speed up the development of new carbon conversion technology.
Though carbon capture is not considered a “an economically viable approach” ( 2011 report by the American Physical Society ) to solving the climate change issue, it still holds a potential to play a part in the joint efforts for reversing the negative impact that humans have had on the planet.
FOOTPRINTLESS Making a shoe out of thin air. “We didn’t realize that in creating the shoe, we were actually entering the competition.” The world must find a way to capture CO2 emissions and turn them into valuable resources. Together with NRG and partners, we designed, developed, and fabricated the
The sole of a new sneaker was once pollution: after carbon dioxide was captured from a power plant or other heavy industry, engineers transformed it to become the building block for a new type of foam.