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Finalists Presenting Innovations in Carbon Reduction Announced for $20M NRG COSIA Carbon XPRIZE

The $20M NRG COSIA Carbon XPRIZE announced the ten teams selected as finalists in its multi-year competition to find innovations that will contribute to global carbon reduction. Competing teams were tasked with finding ways to convert carbon dioxide emissions from power plants into commonly used valuable products such as concrete and alternative fuels.  

XPRIZE, a nonprofit seeking to solve some of humanity’s biggest challenges through incentive competitions, hosted the challenge with NRG, the leading integrated power company in the U.S and COSIA, an alliance of oil sands producers focused on accelerating environmental performance in Canada.

The ten finalists were selected from 27 semifinalists by a judging panel of sustainability, energy, and CO2 experts.  The finalists already demonstrated conversion of CO2 into viable products like carbon fiber, plastics, liquid fuels, and enhanced concrete.  Now moving on to the finals, the teams will have to demonstrate their technologies on a scale at least 10 times greater than the semifinals at two purpose-built industrial test sites.

Split between these two test sites, the finalists are competing in one of two parallel tracks. Half of the finalists test their technologies at the Wyoming Integrated Test Center in Gillette, WY, while the other half tests at the Alberta Carbon Conversion Technology Centre in Calgary, Alberta, Canada.

Testing on the Wyoming Track are:

  • Carbon Upcycling UCLA from Los Angeles, California, led by Dr. Gaurav Sant, producing building materials that replace concrete by absorbing CO2 during the production process.
  • CarbonCure from Dartmouth, Canada, led by Jennifer Wagner, offering greener, stronger concrete.
  • Carbon Capture Machine from Aberdeen, Scotland, led by Dr. Mohammed Imbabi, produces solid carbonates for building material applications.
  • C4X from Suzhou, China, led by Dr. Wayne Song and Dr. Yuehui Li, building bio-composite foamed plastics and chemicals.
  • Breathe from Bangalore, India, led by Dr. Sebastian Peter, uses a novel catalyst to produce methanol, a common fuel and petrochemical feedstock.

Testing on the Alberta Track are:

  • Newlight from Huntington Beach, California, led by Mark Herrema, produces bioplastics using biological systems.
  • CERT from Toronto, Canada, led by Dr. Alex Ip, produces the building blocks of industrial chemicals.
  • Carbon Upcycling Technologies from Calgary, Canada, led by Apoorv Sinha, produces graphene derivatives and enhanced graphitic nanoparticles for concrete, epoxies, pharmaceuticals, polymers, and batteries.
  • Carbicrete from Montreal, Canada, led by Dr. Mehrdad Mahoutian, uses waste from steel production to make cement-free, carbon-negative concrete.
  • C2CNT from Ashburn, Virginia, led by Dr. Stuart Licht, produces carbon nanotubes.

“The diversity of technologies on display is an inspiring vision of a new carbon economy,” said XPRIZE senior director of energy and resources and prize lead, Dr. Marcius Extavour. “We’re excited to support these teams as they scale up and start demonstrating under real-world conditions at the industrial test centers. This is the final, most ambitious stage of this prize competition.”

The winners will be chosen in March of 2020.  

Other active competitions include the Lunar XPRIZE, the $15M Global Learning XPRIZE, the $10M ANA Avatar XPRIZE, the $7M Shell Ocean Discovery XPRIZE, the $7M Barbara Bush Foundation Adult Literacy XPRIZE, the $5M IBM Watson AI XPRIZE, the $1.75M Water Abundance XPRIZE and the $1M Anu and Naveen Jain Women’s Safety XPRIZE.