Two winners won a $20 million competition to make products using carbon dioxide emitted from power plants
Cheyenne, Wyoming – The organizers of a $20 million contest announced two winners on Monday, and then launched a similar but larger contest backed by Elon Musk.
Both winners have made concrete that can capture carbon dioxide and keep it away from the atmosphere, leading to climate change. Marcius Extavour, vice president of climate and energy at XPRIZE, said that cement production is a key component of concrete and accounts for 7% of global greenhouse gas emissions.
“Therefore, it is not surprising that the winning team focused on reducing concrete-related emissions, which will change the rules of the game for global decarbonization,” he said in a statement.
At the same time, Musk, an electric car and space entrepreneur, promised to provide researchers with $100 million, who can demonstrate how to capture large amounts of carbon dioxide directly from the atmosphere and store the gas permanently. The game will start on Thursday, which is Earth Day.
“We hope that the team can build real systems that can have a measurable impact and scale to the billion-ton level. No matter what the cost. Time is of the essence,” said Musk, founder and CEO of Tesla and SpaceX. Represented in February.
Both competitions are organized by XPRIZE, which encourages new technologies by setting up bonuses to showcase achievements. Most famously, Mojave Aerospace Ventures won a $10 million XPRIZE in 2004 because it was the first to send privately funded, reusable rocket aircraft into space many times.
The $20 million bonus announced on Monday is divided into two parts: one is a coal-fired power plant in Wyoming, and the other is a gas-fired power plant in Alberta, Canada. The focus of the competition was to use carbon dioxide collected from factory chimneys, and the winners demonstrated that they can capture emissions in cement, in some cases making stronger concrete.
According to XPRIZE, the winner of the Wyoming plant is CarbonBuilt in Los Angeles, which uses carbon dioxide to cure concrete and traps it in a process that emits fewer greenhouse gases than traditional cement production.
According to XPRIZE, the winner of Alberta is CarbonCure Technologies in Dartmouth, Nova Scotia. A mixture that can make stronger concrete.
The American part of the competition was held at the Wyoming Comprehensive Testing Center, which is located at a coal-fired power plant near Gillette, and is responsible for researching methods for capturing and using carbon dioxide in the real world.
Governor Mark Gordon often touts the research center as an example of Wyoming’s interest in finding solutions to climate change-in the process that might protect the state’s declining coal industry.
U.S. coal production has fallen by half in the past 15 years or so, as utilities obtain more electricity from renewable energy and cheaper natural gas. Approximately 40% of the coal in the United States comes from Wyoming, which is currently more than any other state.
The state bears three-quarters of the $20 million cost of the Wyoming Comprehensive Testing Center, which opened in 2018.
“Managing carbon emissions will not be one size fits all,” said Jason Begger, the managing director of the center. “The cement plant’s power plant in Wyoming may not make much sense, but it may make sense in Japan.”
Gordon spokesman Michael Perlman said that Wyoming officials expressed interest in participating in the XPRIZE competition funded by Musk, but did not receive a response from him.
Post time: Oct-14-2021