Launched in 2015, the competition, which sought breakthrough technologies that convert CO2 into products with the highest net value, included two tracks: the Wyoming track, which focused on the conversion of emissions from the coal-fired Wyoming Integrated Test Center; and the Alberta track, which used emissions from the Alberta Carbon Conversion Technology Centre, a natural-gas-fired power plant.
The winner of the Wyoming track is UCLA CarbonBuilt, a project led by Gaurav Sant, a professor of civil and environmental engineering at the University of California, Los Angeles Samueli School of Engineering. Sant's team developed technology that reduces the carbon footprint of concrete by more than half while cutting raw material costs and increasing profitability by directly injecting CO2 from flue gas streams (such as power plants or cement factories) into the concrete mixture, where it is chemically transformed and permanently stored. The winner of the Alberta track is CarbonCure Technologies, whose technology reduces the water and carbon footprint of concrete production without sacrificing the material's reliability by converting CO2 into a permanently embedded mineral in concrete mixes with strength-enhancing properties. The winning teams will each receive $7.5 million.
The NRG COSIA Carbon XPRIZE also provided X-Factor awards to two finalists, Carbon Upcycling-NLT and Carbon Corp, that created excellent products and compelling demonstrations deserving of recognition.
"The production of Portland cement, the key ingredient that binds concrete and gives it its strength, accounts for approximately 7 percent of global CO2 emissions," said Marcius Extavour, vice president of climate and energy at XPRIZE. "Concrete is also a material that can be readily made using CO2 as an input, which the winning teams have demonstrated really clearly. Now, deploying their technology to avoid and reduce emissions from heavy industry will be a game-changer for global decarbonization in the fight against climate change."
(Photo credit: University of California, Los Angeles Samueli School of Engineering)