The Integrated Test Center (ITC) in Gillette will host five finalists for the NRG COSIA Carbon XPRIZE competition later this year. The 10 teams were selected this week, down from 27 in the semi-final round. The remaining five teams will be located in Alberta studying natural gas instead of coal.
Each team is working to find the best method of transforming carbon dioxide into the highest value product. In the final round, teams have until next summer to significantly scale up their products. They can begin working at the ITC this summer, or remain at their home bases.
Teams have developed products from CO2 including fuel, building materials, concrete, and plastics. Jerimiah Rieman, Gov. Matt Mead’s Diversification Director, said the competition could help reboot Wyoming’s coal market.
"This is an opportunity for us to reimagine carbon and it would literally take what is considered a pollutant and transform it into a valuable asset,” he said.
Dr. Marcius Extavour, XPRIZE’s Senior Director of Energy and Resources and Carbon XPRIZE lead, said these companies are also encouraged to keep working in Wyoming. He said that process is organic, but it’s also fed by the competition. For instance, during the ribbon cutting next month there will be networking opportunities with local businesses.
“Whether it’s for permitting, engineering support, financing, regulatory affairs, waste management. These are all things you’re going to need to operate a successful pilot plan,” Extavour said.
The ITC can produce 20 megawatts of power, though the five teams will only use two of them. A winner from each track will be chosen in 2020 and will both take home $7.5 million.
- Breathe (Bangalore, India) – Led by Dr. Sebastian Peter, the team is producing methanol, a common fuel and petrochemical feedstock, using a novel catalyst.
- C4X (Suzhou, China) – Led by Dr. Wayne Song and Dr. Yuehui Li, the team is producing chemicals and bio-composite foamed plastics.
- Carbon Capture Machine (Aberdeen, Scotland) – Led by Dr. Mohammed Imbabi, the team is producing solid carbonates with applications to building materials.
- CarbonCure (Dartmouth, Canada) – Led by Jennifer Wagner, the team is producing stronger, greener concrete.
- Carbon Upcycling UCLA (Los Angeles, CA, USA) – Led by Dr. Gaurav Sant, the team is producing building materials that absorb CO2 during the production process to replace concrete.