Putting Science to the Test: The Carbon XPRIZE Semifinals

Putting Science to the Test: The Carbon XPRIZE Semifinals

The NRG COSIA Carbon XPRIZE is gearing up for a major milestone in 2018—the announcement of the finalist teams! Over the past several months, the XPRIZE team has traveled around the world to six different countries, visiting each of our 20 semifinalists in their natural habitats.

From Washington to China, the semifinalist teams in the Carbon XPRIZE competition were given one year to build breakthrough technologies that convert CO2 into valuable products, ultimately striving for a chance to win a share of a $5 million milestone prize.

What really stood out during the team visits was the astounding diversity among the competitors. The teams, who come from universities, startups, and companies all over the world, are producing a whole range of valuable products from CO2 such as fish food, fuels, building materials, and carbon fiber.

XPRIZE staff traveled to each of their locations with a group of independent technical experts to test the limits of each new technology. Teams were required to run their machines for 3 days and demonstrate their ability to both capture CO2 from industrial emissions and convert it into a valuable product. In many cases, teams worked around the clock, with many sleepless nights leading up to their site visits. Some visits went according to plan, while others experienced machine breakdowns, delivery delays, equipment failure, and team upsets. Despite the obstacles, most were able to demonstrate working systems with impressive results.

Armed with data collected during the site visits, XPRIZE’s independent panel of international judges will be locked in deliberations for 3 days to closely examine the details from each site visit. The teams are being judged on how much CO2 they are able to consume, the size and value of the markets for their CO2-based products, and their efficiency in using energy, materials, land, and water. Altogether, each team is challenged to maximize their potential for mitigating and reducing global CO2 emissions. The judges will come out the other side with the list of teams who will advance in the competition and continue working for a shot at one of two $7.5 million grand prizes.

As our finalist announcement nears, we are excited to spend the next few weeks highlighting the work being done by our inspirational teams, and the amazing technologies they are building for the competition. We hope that you’ll be as inspired as we have been to believe in the impact these new technologies will have in reducing carbon emissions worldwide. Stay tuned!

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