Nova Scotia team one of two to win NRG COSIA Carbon XPrize competition
A Nova Scotia clean technology company has won the international NRG COSIA Carbon XPRIZE competition, a feat that's also a win for Canada's emerging carbon economy. Dartmouth-based CarbonCure Technologies shares the top prize with California-based UCLA CarbonBuilt, with the teams competing in natural gas and coal tracks respectively. The two winners from a cohort of 10 finalists demonstrated they could convert the most carbon dioxide (CO2) into the highest value products. Each takes home a grand prize of US$7.5 million, in addition to $500,000 awarded to each finalist earlier in the competition.
Canada's Oil Sands Innovation Alliance (COSIA) co-sponsored the multi-year competition through a joint industry project led by COSIA member ConocoPhillips Canada, supported by other members Canadian Natural, Cenovus Energy, Imperial, Suncor and non-member CNOOC. Together, COSIA members represent 90 per cent of oil sands production and through COSIA, collaborate on clean technology innovation to improve the environmental performance of Canada's oil sands.
"The NRG COSIA Carbon XPRIZE has proven that converting CO2 into everyday products can be a game-changing pathway in our broader efforts to reduce emissions. Through breakthrough technologies, we can tackle the major causes of climate change, create new economic opportunities and build a bridge to a cleaner, abundant and affordable energy future," says Wes Jickling, COSIA's Chief Executive. "We congratulate the teams and winners and are very proud of what's been achieved. This is a shining example of the collaboration that's required across industries and borders to address climate change, while meeting global energy needs."
Teams in the competition, administered by the US-based XPRIZE Foundation, have advanced technologies that can address climate change by converting CO2 emissions into products like environmentally friendly concrete, plastics and even vodka. Both winning teams are recycling CO2 emissions into concrete related products - one of the most abundantly used materials on earth.
"The prize helped to develop tangible innovation in CO2 conversion and carbon tech, and that is thanks to the hard work of the teams, and the support of NRG and COSIA, especially the test centers created to make this prize possible," said Marcius Extavour, XPRIZE Vice President of Energy and Climate. "Some of the solutions are already in the market, and others are ready to be deployed. It's time to act in decarbonization, and the solutions showcased during the prize represent a path forward."
Jickling says, "supporting this initiative is just one example of work underway in Canada's oil sands to improve environmental performance. In fact, Canada's oil and natural gas companies spend more on clean technology investments than all other industries combined, with 75% of the $1.4 billion invested annually in Canada coming from our oil and natural gas industry."
The XPRIZE competition is also an important step forward in progressing Canada's carbon economy, which has considerable potential to become a new commercial industry including through making products from C02. By elevating the profile of carbon capture and utilization technologies, the competition brought together some of the leading innovators working in this space and is estimated to have attracted an additional US$150 million in outside funding for participants, including from Bill Gates, Amazon and Shopify.
Globally, the carbon capture and utilization sector is thought to be a $6 trillion opportunity, with the potential to spur new industries and products that could transform our world by slowing climate change. Many experts believe that Canada has the potential to be a leader in this area.
An important legacy of the competition is the Calgary-based Alberta Carbon Conversion Technology Centre (ACCTC), a testing facility that was purpose built for Carbon XPRIZE competitors in the natural gas track. It is now open to innovators from anywhere in the world looking to advance carbon capture and utilization technologies. The ACCTC is poised to be a global hub for groundbreaking innovation that addresses the climate-related risks of excess CO2emissions while creating new economic opportunities.
"Alberta is at the forefront of carbon capture and utilization research thanks to the Alberta Carbon Conversion Technology Centre and all the competitors in the NRG COSIA Carbon XPRIZE. The ACCTC provides the platform for innovators and entrepreneurs to de-risk the development process and move their technology forward to commercial success, thanks to the unique facilities and expertise of our subsidiary, InnoTech Alberta." says Laura Kilcrease, CEO of Alberta Innovates, which owns and operates the ACCTC.