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Global innovators vie for $20M carbon capture prizes

Cooking oil, graphene among prize entry ideas aimed at power plants.


CHEYENNE, Wyo. — Forty-seven entries from seven countries have been submitted for a $20 million competition to capture and use greenhouse emissions from power plants.

The NRG COSIA Carbon XPRIZE announced the entrants July 26.

Proposals include turning carbon dioxide into products as common as cooking oil or as exotic as graphene, a substance much stronger than steel. Other ideas include using carbon dioxide to produce biofuels.

The first round of competition happens only on paper. The second round involves demonstrations in a lab.

The third and final round uses real emissions from a coal-fired power plant in Wyoming and a gas-fired power plant in the Canadian province of Alberta.

The winner will demonstrate the most profitable way to make products from CO2 to defray the cost of keeping the gas out of the atmosphere.

The US$20 million competition is a global initiative operated by the XPRIZE Foundation, a non-profit organization that designs and manages public competitions. NRG, a US power company and the Canada’s Oil Sands Innovation Alliance (COSIA) are sponsors.

It’s structured as a two-track prize, with the new technologies tested at either a coal power plant or a natural gas power plant.

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