47 entries from 7countries are set to take part in a competition aimed at finding new ways to convert carbon dioxide into valuable products. The NRG COSIA Carbon XPrize will award $20 million in prizes to the teams that develop the best breakthrough tech for "reimagining CO2."
XPrize runs competitions aimed at solving the world's biggest challenges, with the $30 million Google Lunar XPrize, the $15 million Global Learning XPrize and the $5 million IBM Watson Artificial Intelligence XPrize among those that are ongoing. The Carbon XPrize was launched in September last year and, since then, teams have been formed to take part.
With the technical and business viability assessment of entries now complete, the competing teams have been finalized and they are said to include leading carbon capture technology companies, top-tier academic institutions, non-profits, startups and even a father and son duo. There are teams from Canada, China, India, Finland, Switzerland, Scotland and the US.
The contest is being run on the premises that the levels of CO2 in the earth's atmosphere are no longer at reasonable levels, that emission levels are growing exponentially and that "we need every solution we can find, including not just continued incremental improvements, but radical new breakthroughs" to tackle the problem.
XPrize suggests that carbon could be used to make products like sustainable building materials, clothing and running shoes, automobiles and breakthrough medicines. The competition winners will be the teams that convert the most CO2 emissions into the highest value products, while making the business case for their approach and minimizing the use of other inputs that have environmental ramifications, such as energy, water and land.
The contest will run for four-and-a-half years and will include two tracks. One will focus on testing technologies at a coal power plant and the other at a natural gas power plant.
Up to 15 semi-finalist teams in each track are scheduled to be announced on October 15th, with those teams then required to demonstrate their technologies in a controlled environment. Up to five finalists in each stream will then be required to demonstrate their technologies on a larger scale and under real-world conditions. The winner in each stream is due to be announced in March 2020.
A $2.5 million reward will be shared equally among the finalists in each track and a $7.5 million reward given to the winner in each track.