Independent research institution chosen to assess NRG COSIA Carbon XPRIZE technologies

Tim Hansen and Santosh Gangwal are part of the Southern Research Energy & Environment team who will conduct the independent validation of competing technologies in the NRG COSIA Carbon XPRIZE. Image: Southern Research

The NRG COSIA Carbon XPRIZE has enlisted the expertise of Birmingham, Alabama-headquartered Southern Research to provide independent validation of competing technologies in the $20 million global competition.

Southern Research, a not-for-profit research institution with nearly 500 scientists and engineers, will serve as an independent, unbiased technical evaluator to assess the competing technologies, aimed at profitably converting carbon dioxide emissions into valuable products.

Technologists from the organization's Energy & Environment (E&E) division will visit each of the competing teams and validate each technology's performance based on how much CO2 they are able to convert and the net value of products created with the carbon.

"Our team of scientists and engineers have experience in deploying and testing new renewable energy and environmental management technologies in the field. That real world experience, combined with process modelling and analytical capabilities, gives us the ability to judge which technologies are more likely to succeed when commercialized," said Bill Grieco, vice-president of Southern Research's E&E division.

E&E manages a task force specifically for independent performance validation and demonstration of energy and related sustainable technologies. The team predicts the economic and life cycle impacts of emerging technologies with techno-economic analyses and life cycle assessments.

The 4½-year XPRIZE competition, sponsored by Canada's Oil Sands Innovation Alliance and Houston-based energy company NRG, includes all three rounds across two tracks—one focused on testing technologies at a coal plant and another that focuses on testing technologies at a natural gas power plant.

In October, 27 semi-finalist teams representing six countries were selected to advance to the second round. They will demonstrate their technology at pilot scale using either real flue gas or simulated flue gas over the next 10 months. Up to five teams selected from each track will then move on to the final round, in which teams will demonstrate their technology under real-world conditions at two test centres adjacent to existing power plants.