Recycled CO2 Shoes for NRG’s Carbon XPRIZE
The Carbon XPRIZE is a $20 Million global competition hosted by energy company, NRG, to develop breakthrough technologies that will convert CO₂ emissions from power plants and heavy industry into valuable products like building materials, alternative fuels, and consumer product items we use every day.
10XBeta was commissioned to create a sneaker to showcase how consumer products could benefit from the use of recycled CO2 at the object, system, and materials level. The process required extensive material science and biochemistry research, as well as support from multiple partners in shoe and fashion design, sourcing, and manufacturing.
As novice shoe designers, we first addressed material science, supply chain, and shoe assembly challenges to enhance our understanding of the the industry at both product and system levels. During this phase, we partnered with leading CO2 recycling industries, specifically Novomer, who specializes in turning CO2 into Polyol chemicals, developed a proprietary catalyst that reacts with CO2 to create polyurethane which was used to make the shoe. Using these base polyols, which are designed to replace conventional petroleum-based polyether, polyester, and polycarbonate polyols, we partnered with Troy Polymers who helped develop the polyols into a polymers for production and yield a product with an extremely low carbon footprint.
Using the innovative material, 10XBeta created a sneaker that is among the first applications of captured CO2 in consumer goods, while also addressing the aesthetics of form by designing beautiful and minimal product—bringing new perspective to the aesthetics of environmentally friendly products.