Carbon XPRIZE teams seek to convert CO2 into products ranging from building materials to toothpaste

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From fish food and fertilizer to enhanced concrete, biofuels, toothpaste and nanotubes, the winning ideas for products created with waste CO2 are as varied as the 27 teams representing six countries advancing in the $20 million NRG COSIA Carbon XPRIZE.

The 4.5-year competition includes the demonstrations by finalist technologies at either a coal or a natural gas power plant. Semi-finalist teams announced today include 14 from the United States, nine from Canada and one each from China, India, Scotland and Switzerland. Among the teams competing are innovative carbon capture technology companies, top-tier academic institutions, non-profits and new startups. Six of the teams are competing in both the coal and natural gas competition tracks.

“Through the Carbon XPRIZE, these global teams are moving forward to address CO2 in a truly exciting way,” said Dan Wicklum, chief executive of Canada's Oil Sands Innovation Alliance (COSIA). “These teams perfectly represent the spirit, passion and promise that take us from problems to solutions. By reimagining what can be done to turn CO2 into a multitude of useful products, the Carbon XPRIZE semi-finalists are poised to provide the world with solutions to positively address this challenge that we face today.”

“The selected semi-finalists show that innovation can come from anywhere, determined by our expert judging panel to represent the most promising and innovative submissions in the competition,” said Paul Bunje, principal and senior scientist, Energy & Environment, XPRIZE. “We believe that these teams will push the boundaries of CO2 utilization and create breakthrough solutions that will tackle a significant source of CO2 emissions.”

Launched in September 2015, the global competition to seeks to develop breakthrough technologies that convert the most carbon dioxide emissions into products with the highest net value.

Semi-finalists participating in Round 2 will demonstrate their technology at pilot scale at a location of their choosing, using either real or simulated flue gas. Over the course of a ten-month period, teams must meet minimum requirements and will be scored on how much CO2 they convert and the resulting net value of their products. Following Round 2 judging scheduled for November and December 2017, up to five teams in each track that score the highest will share a $2.5 million milestone purse and move on to the finals of the competition.

In the Final Round, teams will demonstrate their technology under real-world conditions at a larger scale, with access to two test centres adjacent to existing power plants. Teams competing in the natural gas track will test their technologies at a natural gas power plant in Alberta to be announced this fall. Teams competing in the coal track will test their technologies at the Wyoming Integrated Test Center (ITC), a cutting-edge carbon research facility in Gillette, Wyoming.

“We’re excited by the diverse proposals from teams hailing from differing geographies,” said Ben Trammell, senior vice-president, Engineering & Construction at NRG, a U.S. energy company based in Houston, Texas. “Finding a viable and compelling solution for converted CO2 is an enormous task. The XPRIZE attracts a diverse talent pool too, which allows teams to bring groundbreaking ideas to the forefront.”

The 27 teams advancing to the semi-finalist round are:

Competition Track A (coal) includes 12 teams creating technologies for use at a coal power plant:

• Aljadix (Switzerland) – Led by Thomas Digby, the team is producing carbon negative biofuel.

• Breathe (India) – Led by Sebastian Peter, the team is producing methanol.

• C4X (China) – Led by Wayne Song, the team is producing methanol and bio-composite boards.

• Carbon Capture Machine (Scotland) – Led by Mohammed Imbabi, the team is producing solid carbonates.

• Carbon Cure (Canada) – Led by Jennifer Wagner, the team is producing enhanced concrete.

• Carbon Upcycling Technologies (Canada) – Led by Apoorv Sinha, the team is producing graphitic nanoparticles.

• Carbon Upcycling UCLA (United States) – Led by J.R. DeShazo, the team is producing 3D-printed concrete replacement building material.

• EE-AGG (United States) – Led by Mark Edelman, the team is producing methanol.

• Innovator Energy (United States) – Led by Ethan Novek, the team is producing syngas and acetic acid.

• Low-Energy-Consumption CO2 Capture and Conversion (United States) – Led by Maohong Fan, the team is producing fuels and chemicals.

• Opus 12 (United States) – Led by Etosha Cave, the team is producing plastics, fertilizers and gasoline.

• Terra COH (United States) –Led by Jimmy Randolph, the team is producing energy storage and retrieval, and electricity generation.

Competition Track B (natural gas) includes 21 teams creating technologies for use at a natural gas power plant:

• C2CNF (United States) – Led by Stuart Licht, the team is producing carbon nanotubes.

• Carbicrete (Canada) – Led by Yuri Mytko, the team is producing carbon-negative construction blocks.

• Carbon Cure (Canada) – Led by Jennifer Wagner, the team is producing enhanced concrete.

• Carbon Upcycling Technologies (Canada) – Led by Apoorv Sinha, the team is producing graphene nanoplatelets.

• Carbon Upcycling UCLA (United States) – Led by J.R. DeShazo, the team is producing 3D-printed concrete replacement building material.

• CAT.ALY.ST (United States) – Led by Stafford Sheehan, the team is producing biofuels.

• CERT (Canada) – Led by Ted Sargent, the team is producing formic acid.

• CO2 Solutions (Canada (TSX-V: CST)) – Led by Dr. Louis Fradette, the team is producing a high-value bioproduct.

• Dimensional Energy (United States) – Led by Jason Salfi, the team is producing hydrocarbon fuels.

• EE-AGG (United States) – Led by Mark Edelman, the team is producing methanol.

• Hago Energetics (United States) – Led by Wilson Hago, the team is producing gas and liquid fuels.

• Ingenuity Lab (Canada) – Led by Carlo Montemagno, the team is producing dihydroxyacetone (DHA) and other chemicals.

• Innovator Energy (United States) – Led by Ethan Novek, the team is producing syngas and acetic acid.

• Low-Energy-Consumption CO2 Capture and Conversion (United States) – Led by Maohong Fan, the team is producing fuels and chemicals.

• Newlight (United States) – Led by Mark Herrema, the team is producing polymers.

• Pond Technology's Carbon Cyclers (Canada) – Led by Peter Howard, the team is producing biodiesel and solid biofuel.

• Protein Power (United States) – Led by Lisa Dyson, the team is producing high-protein fish food.

• RES Kaidi (United States) – Led by Mark Robertson, the team is producing dimethyl ether (DME) for chemical feedstock or fuel.

• Tandem Technical (Canada) – Led by Jerry Flynn, the team is producing health supplements, toothpaste, paint and fertilizers.

• Terra CO2 Technologies (Canada) – Led by Dylan Jones, the team is producing metal carbonate compounds and sulphur byproducts.

• White Dog Labs (United States) – Led by Bryan Tracy, the team is producing acetone.

For more information about each team, visit carbon.xprize.org/teams .

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