How This 'Carbon-Negative' Vodka Is Made From Recycled Air

When it comes to innovation that actually makes an impact, countless brands around the world are throwing their hats in the ring. Especially today, new inventions often pair with a purpose that can reduce time, costs, and energy. One company, in particular, has developed a manufacturing process that is causing heads to turn — and martini glasses to tilt. Yep, we're talking about a cutting-edge way of making vodka. In addition to fermented potatoes or cereal grains, water is the main ingredient in most types of vodka. In fact, the word vodka derives from the Slavic word voda, which translates to "little water," according to Taste of Home.

Now, Air Company, a Brooklyn-based business, claims to have created "the world's most sustainable spirit" (via The Guardian). What does that mean? Well, the clever distillers have discovered a way to make pure vodka out of carbon dioxide from the air we breathe. Behold: Air Vodka. Each bottle of Air Vodka with Natural Flavors is 40% proof and is made using one pound of CO2 extracted from the earth's atmosphere. How cool is that? Well, there has apparently been both excitement and skepticism around this eco-friendly booze.

How is Air Vodka made?

Founded in 2019, Air Company was a finalist in Elon Musk's XPRIZE, a competition that supports technological development that benefits humanity (via XPRIZE). The company's founders, Australian entrepreneur Gregory Constantine and American chemical physicist Stafford Sheehan, aim to be at the forefront of companies that utilize captured CO2 in their production process, according to The Guardian. "This spirit is engineered to help create a world with cleaner air — the perfect way to balance indulgence with impact," the brand website states.

So, how is this avant-garde vodka made? To describe the process as simply as possible without boring you: First, carbon dioxide (CO2) is captured directly from the air. It's then combined with hydrogen that is created via electrolysis — the process in which electricity splits water into hydrogen and oxygen. These elements are then combined to create ethanol, an alcohol which, when mixed with water, becomes — you guessed it — vodka. A 750 mL bottle of it will cost you between $65 to $79.99.

Some environmentalists have questioned the carbon capture process itself, calling it a "dangerous distraction" and believe that, in order to save the climate, the focus should be on minimizing oil, coal, and gas production, as The Energy Mix notes. But Air Company still believes there's a place for eco-friendly products. "People are going to drink regardless, people have been drinking alcohol for thousands of years, so if you can offer a solution that makes them feel better about that, that's one part of it," Constantine told The Guardian. Vodka is just the beginning of Air Company's carbon-negative products — the company is also releasing a fragrance as well as a hand sanitizer spray.