Environment

10 teams advance to final stage of $20 million Carbon XPrize

10 teams advance to final stag...
XPrize finalist CERT from Toronto, Canada, is creating new building blocks for industrial chemicals using C02
XPrize finalist CERT from Toronto, Canada, is creating new building blocks for industrial chemicals using C02
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XPrize finalist team Carbon Capture Machine from Scotland, is trying to produce solid carbonates for use in construction
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XPrize finalist team Carbon Capture Machine from Scotland, is trying to produce solid carbonates for use in construction
XPrize finalist C4X from China is using C02 to make chemicals and bio-composite foamed plastics
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XPrize finalist C4X from China is using C02 to make chemicals and bio-composite foamed plastics
XPrize finalist Carbon Upcycling UCLA from California is developing a concrete replacement that absorbs C02 during production
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XPrize finalist Carbon Upcycling UCLA from California is developing a concrete replacement that absorbs C02 during production
XPrize finalist CERT from Toronto, Canada, is creating new building blocks for industrial chemicals using C02
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XPrize finalist CERT from Toronto, Canada, is creating new building blocks for industrial chemicals using C02
XPrize finalist team Carbicrete from Montreal, Canada, is working on cement-free, carbon negative concrete made from waste produced during steel production
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XPrize finalist team Carbicrete from Montreal, Canada, is working on cement-free, carbon negative concrete made from waste produced during steel production
XPrize finalist C2CNT from the USA is producing carbon nanotubes from C02
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XPrize finalist C2CNT from the USA is producing carbon nanotubes from C02
XPrize finalist Newlight from California is using biological systems to create advanced bioplastics from C02
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XPrize finalist Newlight from California is using biological systems to create advanced bioplastics from C02
XPrize finalist team Breathe from India, is working to use a novel catalyst to produce methanol for use as a fuel and petrochemical feedstock from C02
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XPrize finalist team Breathe from India, is working to use a novel catalyst to produce methanol for use as a fuel and petrochemical feedstock from C02
XPrize finalist Carbon Upcycling UCLA from California, is developing a concrete replacement that absorbs C02 during production 
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XPrize finalist Carbon Upcycling UCLA from California, is developing a concrete replacement that absorbs C02 during production 
XPrize finalist CarbonCure from Canada is working on stronger and more environmentally-friendly concrete using C02
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XPrize finalist CarbonCure from Canada is working on stronger and more environmentally-friendly concrete using C02

The notion of turning C02 into something useful sounds wildly futuristic, but scientists are already making promising strides in the area. Launched in 2015, the Carbon XPrize is a US$20 million competition aimed at speeding things along, inviting competing teams to develop technologies that can capture and convert these emissions into products of value. Organizers have today announced the 10 finalists, who will now look to dramatically scale up their solutions and pit them against one another under real-world conditions.

The situation regarding the concentration of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere is increasingly dire. The continued burning of fossil fuels has pushed this beyond 400 parts per million (ppm) in some parts of the world, with 350 ppm the concentration experts consider safe. Meanwhile, global temperatures continue to rise and rise.

Clean-burning biofuels, solid rock and carbon nanofibers are just a few of the things researchers have been able to create using carbon dioxide. While exciting, these remain largely proof-of-concept, experimental technologies, and the goal of the Carbon XPrize is to facilitate a big leap, getting them out of the lab and and into use on an industrial-scale.

XPrize finalist team Carbon Capture Machine from Scotland, is trying to produce solid carbonates for use in construction
XPrize finalist team Carbon Capture Machine from Scotland, is trying to produce solid carbonates for use in construction

A total of 46 teams from seven countries entered the Carbon Xprize, looking to develop a breakthrough technology that reimagines C02. Now whittled down to 10 from five countries, the finalists will take a share of a $5 million milestone prize and now look to develop their technologies at one of two locations.

Five will set up at a carbon research facility called the Wyoming Integrated Test Center, in Gillette, Wyoming, where they will look to demonstrate how C02 can be captured and converted from a coal-fired power plant. The other five will work at the Alberta Carbon Conversion Technology Centre in Calgary, Canada, and will try to demonstrate technologies that can capture and convert C02 from a natural gas-fired power plant.

While the semifinal phase tasked teams with demonstrating their technologies at a pilot scale and at a location of their own choosing, they now have to demonstrate those technologies at a scale 10 times greater and in an industrial setting. Here's a quick overview of the remaining teams and what they're trying to create using C02.

Battling it out in Wyoming:

  • Breathe from India, working to use a novel catalyst to produce methanol for use as a fuel and petrochemical feedstock.
  • CarbonCure from Canada, working on stronger and more environmentally-friendly concrete.
  • C4X from China, making chemicals and bio-composite foamed plastics.
  • Carbon Capture Machine form Scotland, trying to produce solid carbonates for use in construction.
  • Carbon Upcycling UCLA from California, developing a concrete replacement that absorbs C02 during production.

And having it out in Calgary:

  • Carbicrete from Montreal, Canada, working on cement-free carbon negative concrete made from waste produced during steel production.
  • C2CNT from the USA, producing carbon nanotubes.
  • Carbon Upcycling Technologies from Calgary, Canada, producing graphitic nanoparticles and graphene derivatives for use in polymers, concrete, epoxies and batteries.
  • CERT from Toronto, Canada, creating new building blocks for industrial chemicals.
  • Newlight from California, using biological systems to create advanced bioplastics.

"We're excited to support these teams as they scale up and start demonstrating under real-world conditions at the industrial test centers," says Dr Marcius Extavour, XPrize senior director of Energy and Resources and prize lead. "This is the final, most ambitious stage of this prize competition."

The Carbon Xprize is expected to conclude in 2020.

The video below provides a brief look at the competition and the 10 finalists.

Source: Carbon Xprize

Carbon XPRIZE Finalist Teams

5 comments
watersworm
But carbon dioxyde IS already usefulnfor food !!!
highlandboy
I wonder how much re-education $20 million would provide. After all the 2nd biggest producer of greenhouse gases is methane producing livestock. Methane is 20x more agreenhouse gas than CO2. So even a small change in meat consumption should have a major effect. Not to mention the rainforest not destroyed to produce it. But then again humans are way more adapt at changing our environment rather than our eating habits.
gbsderm
Capture and convert CO2 into products of value... Isn't that called agriculture?
Douglas Bennett Rogers
Maybe if controlled fusion is achieved recovery of raw material at 350 ppm will be economical. As yet, recovery of even gold from sea water at 1500 ppm is not economical.
ljaques
All this furor over an incompletely conceived "threat". Alarmists think that carbon drives climate, but many think that the rise in CO2 lags warmth, so this alarmism is all bogus theory. highlandboy, it's ironic, isn't it, that those who most need the enlightenment are those footing the bill for this prize?