‘If you are a hard-core environmentalist, be a hard-core industrialist. Figure out technology that can outcompete the things that are making the environment bad, and then you can move at scale.’
Mark Herrema is the Co-Founder and CEO of Newlight Technologies, an advanced biotechnology company using carbon capture to produce high-performance polymers that replace oil-based materials. Newlight was founded on the idea that carbon could be used as a resource, and today it operates the world’s first commercial-scale greenhouse gas-to-AirCarbon manufacturing facilities, producing bioplastics used in furniture, electronics, packaging and a range of other products. Newlight has been named Innovation of the Year by Popular Science, 2015 Technology Pioneer by the World Economic Forum, and 2014 Company of the Year by CleanTech OC.
Today, Mark joins Ross and Christophe to share the inspiration behind Newlight Technologies and how it rose to the challenge of competing with traditional plastics in terms of price and performance. Mark discusses Newlight’s role in transforming the plastics industry and his long-term vision of a licensing model that inspires growth in the areas of bioplastic products and production. They discuss how emerging carbon capture techniques could benefit Newlight and how Nori might change the terms of the climate change debate by monetizing carbon removal. Listen in for Mark’s insight on altruism, incentives and how businesses like Newlight should think about subsidies.
[0:58] Mark’s inspiration for Newlight Technologies
[4:23] Mark’s take on altruism vs. incentives
[5:31] Newlight Technologies’ founding challenge
[6:59] Newlight’s role in transforming the plastics industry
[11:24] Newlight’s sources of methane and CO2
[15:54] Newlight’s cradle-to-grave carbon accounting
[19:40] The benefits of polymers used by Newlight
[22:11] Mark’s big vision for Newlight Technologies
[25:01] How carbon capture techniques would benefit Newlight
[32:09] Nori’s role in creating a carbon offset market
[37:12] Nori’s challenge around verification of carbon removal
[38:00] How Nori differs from existing carbon registries
[40:16] Mark’s insight on 45Q