By John Ensor •
Published: 16 Jan 2024 • 18:38
A standard gin and tonic.
Credit: Ramon L. Farinos/Shutterstock.com
Finnish start-up company Aircohol is pioneering the creation of a vodka-like spirit using carbon dioxide (CO2) extracted directly from the atmosphere.
This ground-breaking approach has the potential to reduce the industry’s carbon footprint by an astonishing 50 per cent. As they say in their own words ‘Aircohol is about saving the planet in a cheerful way!’
At the core of the process is a bioreactor that converts CO2 into alcohol through a two-day fermentation process, all while avoiding the emission of greenhouse gases.
The results can be distilled yet further to produce a vodka-like spirit with an alcohol content of up to 60 per cent. Simo Hamalainen, the founder of the Helsinki-based company, describes the product’s unique flavour profile, characterised by hints of ‘grass, earth, and sweetness.’
Aircohol’s unique product can also be used in beer production by incorporating malts and similar ingredients.
Aircohol’s website proudly proclaims: ‘We clear the air by turning carbon dioxide into wonderful drinks.’
Beyond its environmental benefits, Aircohol’s approach also preserves traditional raw materials like wheat and barley, which are typically used in alcohol production. ‘Natural Aircohol process reduces emissions and leaves the planet’s resources untouched.’
Aircohol, established in 2022, has managed to secur a substantial €2.4 million in funding and established a partnership with Brukett, a renowned Finnish brewery.
Currently, the six-member team is in discussions with major alcohol companies worldwide, in the hope that others will want to move forward and adopt their innovative technology.
According to Aircohol: ‘Global alcohol industry produces hundreds of megatons of CO2.’ They add that with their unique process, ’emissions never reach the atmosphere, and the process leaves nature’s resources untouched.’
As the world confronts the challenges of climate change and sustainability, Aircohol’s innovative approach to alcohol production offers an incredible example of how even well-established industries with years of traditional methods could reinvent themselves.
There are plans to market the product in Finland in 2024, with the UK to follow in the next two to three years.
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Originally from Doncaster, Yorkshire, John now lives in Galicia, Northern Spain with his wife Nina.
He is passionate about news, music, cycling and animals.
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