Green Plastics Startup Novomer Launches First Product


Novomer, a startup that uses recycled carbon dioxide to make polymers and plastics, said this morning it has started selling its first product: the unsexy-sounding “NB-180,” made from a little less than half carbon dioxide.

NB-180 is a class of products called sacrificial binders, which are used to hold two pieces of metal together in high precision manufacturing of products like electronics, fuel cells, nanomaterials and solar panels. In the manufacturing process the binder is burned away and the carbon dioxide is emitted into the atmosphere.

So the greener aspect of the binder is that it’s made of recycled carbon dioxide, and Novomer says it also burns away cleaner than other binders. Novomer’s Product Manager Fox Holt estimates that the size of the high-precision sacrificial binder market is about 300,000 pounds per year.

The Ithaca, N.Y.-based startup uses a catalyst-based process to create its plastics and other materials out of carbon dioxide; the technology was developed by Professor Geoffrey Coates and his research group at Cornell University. The startup is among a wave of companies looking to make chemicals and plastics from greener materials than traditional petroleum-based substances. Novomer is looking to build partnerships with companies that produce CO2, such as concrete manufacturers.

Venture capitalists are interested in the possibility. Back in November Novomer said it had raised $6.6 million in a Series A round led by Physic Ventures and Flagship Ventures.

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