Alberta’s oil sands backed $20M NRG COSIA Carbon XPRIZE

Oil sands

Oil sands Shell photo.

Carbon XPRIZE competition one step closer to re-imagining CO2

Canada’s Oil Sands Innovation Alliance (COSIA) – thanks to its Carbon XPRIZE – has some of the best minds on the planet working on technologies to lower emissions, according to a press release.

Now, the international finalists competing in the $20 million NRG COSIA Carbon XPRIZE will have a facility where they can test their technologies for converting CO2 emissions into valuable products, thanks to the Government of Canada’s and Government of Alberta’s commitment to emission reduction technology development.

Read Markham On Energy columns about the Carbon XPRIZE and Calgary-based competitor CleanCarbon Energy here and here and here.

Up to $20 million in federal and provincial funding was announced today by the Honourable Kent Hehr on behalf of the Government of Canada, and the Honourable Deron Bilous on behalf of the Government of Alberta, for the development of the Alberta Carbon Conversion Technology Centre (ACCTC).

The ACCTC will be one of the few places in the world where carbon conversion technologies can be tested at a commercial scale, and NRG COSIA Carbon XPRIZE finalists will be the first tenants to test their solutions in the natural gas track of the Carbon XPRIZE.

“It’s really exciting to see Canada and Alberta taking a global leadership role in developing technologies and innovations the world needs to lower emissions. With the federal and provincial governments support for the ACCTC, and through collaboration with Shepard Energy Centre, our NRG COSIA Carbon XPRIZE finalists are one step closer to reimagining CO2,” said Dr. Dan Wicklum, chief executive, COSIA.

Eight member companies of COSIA – Canadian Natural, CNOOC Nexen, Cenovus Energy, ConocoPhillips Canada, Devon, Imperial, Suncor, and Shell – are partnered with NRG Energy, a leading integrated power company in the U.S., in backing XPRIZE Foundation’s $20 million global competition to uncover technologies capable of transforming CO2 into valuable, useful products.

In addition to sponsoring this $20 million global competition, COSIA members are leading the design and construction of the ACCTC, and providing up to $5 million of in-kind support and operating costs.

“Canada’s oil sands will be a major source of the world’s energy for decades to come – so it’s necessary to find ways to reduce emissions. There is an incredible amount of research and innovation that is happening in Canada’s oil sands through COSIA’s members, and their involvement in the Carbon XPRIZE demonstrates their commitment to enabling innovation that can produce a positive energy future by addressing our environmental challenges,” continued Wicklum.

“XPRIZE is excited to partner with COSIA and other energy innovation champions in this groundbreaking effort to reimagine carbon. This facility will give innovators a place to go to show what they can do. Together, with the finalists of Carbon XPRIZE, we are proud to help unlock and scale carbon conversion in unprecedented ways to solve one of our society’s greatest challenges: climate change,” said said Paul Bunje, Principal and Senior Scientist, Energy & Environment with the XPRIZE Foundation.

Launched in Sept. 2015, the NRG COSIA Carbon XPRIZE competition addresses global CO2 emissions by incentivizing innovative solutions to convert CO2 from a liability into an asset.

The four-and-a-half-year competition includes the demonstrations by finalists of technologies in a coal track at the Integrated Test Centre in Wyoming or in the natural gas track at the Alberta Carbon Conversion Technology Centre hosted at ENMAX and Capital Power’s 860-megawatt Shepard Energy Centre in southeast Calgary.

The competition began with 46 entrants, narrowing to the field of 27 semi-finalist teams announced in October 2016. Among the teams competing are innovative carbon capture technology companies, top-tier academic institutions, non-profits and new start-ups, hailing from Canada, China, India, Switzerland, Scotland and the United States.

Nine of the 27 semi-finalist teams are from Canada.

Ten finalists will be announced in early 2018 and will share a $2.5 million purse to test their technologies at one of two commercialization centres.

Ultimately, the winning team in both the natural gas and coal tracks will be awarded a $7.5 million grand prize in the spring of 2020.

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