Increased CO2 emissions from the fossil fuels we burn driving our cars, heating our homes and from industrial facilities are a key contributor to climate change. As oil sands operators, the members of COSIA know that, while the products they produce are valuable, getting it out of the ground is CO2 intensive. They know they’re part of the global problem. But the members of COSIA’s Greenhouse Gases EPA are taking a big step to being part of the solution.
On September 29, 2015 Peter Diamandis, then the Chair and Chief Executive Officer of the XPRIZE Foundation, announced the launch of the NRG COSIA Carbon XPRIZE. The prize challenges COSIA’s member companies, current technology partners and innovators from around the world to reimagine CO2.
COSIA, along with U.S. co-title sponsor NRG, are thrilled to be a part of this global competition offering $20 million to two teams best able to convert CO2 emissions into a usable product. The competition promotes and advances the discovery and development of new technologies to take CO2 emissions, which are now seen as a liability, and change them into a valuable product.
The competition is structured as a two-track prize, with one track focused on testing technologies at a natural gas facility, and the other focused on testing technologies at a coal power plant. A prize of $10 million is available to the winners of each track. There will be a total of three rounds:
- Round one assessed 46 submissions for their technical and business viability. Twenty-three teams, from six countries, are currently participating in round two of the competition.
- The second round involves a pilot scale competition where two $2.5 million milestone purses will be shared equally among up to five finalists in each track.
- Round three is a demonstration scale competition where two $7.5 million grand prize purses will be awarded to the winner in each track at the end of the first quarter of 2020.
The finalists in the natural gas track will test their technologies at the new Alberta Carbon Conversion Technology Centre (ACCTC), announced in 2017. The ACCTC will be constructed by ConocoPhillips Canada on behalf of COSIA and handed over to Innotech in the first quarter of 2018. Innotech will operate the facility during the XPRIZE competition period and beyond.
The XPRIZE mission is to “bring about radical breakthroughs for the benefit of humanity” through incentivized competition.
XPRIZE believes in the power of competition. They shine a spotlight on global problems, and then inspire people from around the world to solve them by offering a multi-million dollar prize.
Their model is based on the concept that offering a prize for achieving a specific goal can stimulate entrepreneurial investment that produces a 10 times or greater return on the prize purse and at least 100 times follow‐on investment and social benefit.
“We don’t care where you live, what you’ve done before, where you went to school—if you solve the problem, you win,” says Peter. “As a result, we inspire hundreds of innovators from around the globe, often from unexpected places, to focus their attention and resources on solving this problem, spurring innovation that ultimately benefits humanity.”
XPRIZE competitions have been responsible for technological advances in a number of different industries, including the $10 million Ansari XPRIZE, awarded in 2004, which kick started the commercial space industry.
The NRG COSIA Carbon XPRIZE helps tackle the causes of climate change and build a bridge to a cleaner energy future. It has attracted new and fresh ideas from around the world, and from unexpected places, to accelerate technology innovation in CO2conversion; changing carbon from a liability into a valuable product(s).
“It embodies everything COSIA works towards every day,” says COSIA Chief Executive Dan Wicklum. “Through this prize, and with the XPRIZE Foundation and NRG, we are asking the world to join us in reimagining CO2 and all its possibilities – one idea can ignite a movement.”
The NRG COSIA Carbon XPRIZE has two co-title sponsors. The U.S. sponsor is NRG Energy, one of America’s largest and most diverse competitive power companies. COSIA is the Canadian sponsor. The COSIA sponsorship is funded by seven oil sands companies in the form of a joint industry project led by ConocoPhillips Canada and members Canadian Natural, Cenovus, Imperial, Nexen and Suncor.