MCJ Collective Newsletter
My Climate Journey
Transforming the Built Environment with Biochar
Transforming the Built Environment with Biochar
MCJ Startup Series: Made of Air

Today's guest is Allison Dring, CEO and co-founder of Made of Air, which makes carbon-negative materials using biochar for the built environment and consumer goods.

Biochar is a carbon-rich material from burning biomass such as wood or crop residue. We’ve loosely covered this topic with startups like Climate Robotics, but Made of Air is taking a different approach. The company uses biochar powder mixed with bioplastics to create a moldable, functional material embedded with captured carbon. Made of Air is helping to drive the net-zero economy by using its material in various products, including fashion accessories, brand facades, and building materials.   

The way we approach seemingly routine aspects of building design, such as accent textures on walls, is shifting as we become more aware of the environmental impact of embodied carbon. Allison and Made of Air are leading examples of this transformation in the industry.

Listen on Spotify

In this episode, Allison and Cody have an interesting conversation about current building materials and how the built environment is thinking about decarbonization. They also discuss how carbon-negative materials can complement other emissions reduction practices in buildings. Finally, they delve into the end-of-life process for these buildings and what materials would need to look like to ensure that carbon stays sequestered.

In this episode, we cover: 

  • [2:11] Systemic failures in the built environment

  • [4:31] Why we should be paying attention to embodied carbon right now

  • [6:22] New regulations in Europe for building emissions 

  • [8:45] Allison's background as a trained architect and how she met her co-founder 

  • [14:10] Allison's approach from a climate perspective with carbon capture at the forefront 

  • [18:10] An overview of Made of Air's process

  • [21:27] Use cases for Made of Air's material, including fashion and the built environment

  • [25:17] The company's role in customers' manufacturing process and impact on Scope 3 Emissions

  • [29:19] The green premium question

  • [32:40] Made of Air's production footprint and plans to scale 

  • [36:00] Biochar's end-of-life and permanent sequestration 

  • [39:15] The financial side of the business 

  • [42:10] Who Allison wants to hear from and how to work with Made of Air

Visit our website for a full transcript of this episode.

Get connected: 
Cody Simms Twitter / LinkedIn
Allison Dring / Made of Air
MCJ Podcast / Collective

*You can also reach us via email at, where we encourage you to share your feedback on episodes and suggestions for future topics or guests.

Episode recorded on November 7, 2022. 

MCJ Collective Newsletter

My Climate Journey

A growing body of knowledge about climate change and potential solutions. This series traverses disciplines, industries, and opinions with hundreds of deep-dive conversations with science, technology, and climate leaders.