Canada’s oil sands backed $20M NRG COSIA Carbon XPRIZE competition one step closer to reimagining CO2

CALGARY, AB (March 3, 2017) – Canada’s Oil Sands Innovation Alliance (COSIA) has some of the best minds on the planet working on technologies to lower emissions. 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 COemissions into valuable products, thanks to the Government of Canada’s and Government of Alberta’s commitment to emission reduction technology development.

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,” said Paul Bunje, Principal and Senior Scientist, Energy & Environment with the XPRIZE Foundation. “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.”

Launched in September 2015, the NRG COSIA Carbon XPRIZE competition addresses global COemissions 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.

Alberta Carbon Conversion Technology Centre (ACCTC)Alberta Carbon Conversion Technology Centre (ACCTC)Alberta Carbon Conversion Technology Centre (ACCTC)Alberta Carbon Conversion Technology Centre (ACCTC)



COSIA (Canada’s Oil Sands Innovation Alliance) is an alliance of Canada’s largest oil sands producers, representing 90 percent of production from the Canadian oil sands. Our vision is to enable responsible and sustainable development of Canada’s oil sands as a global energy source while delivering accelerated improvement in environmental performance through collaborative action and innovation in the areas of greenhouse gases, land, tailings and water. For more information, visit: and follow us on twitter @COSIA_ca.

About the NRG COSIA Carbon XPRIZE

Few challenges are greater and more critical than ensuring access to clean, affordable and abundant energy. As the global energy supply remains primarily derived from fossil fuels – the leading contributor to climate change – the $20M NRG COSIA Carbon XPRIZE will challenge the world to reimagine what we can do with CO2 emissions by incentivizing and accelerating the development of technologies that convert CO2 from a liability into valuable products. For more information, visit:


XPRIZE, a 501(c)(3) nonprofit, is the global leader in designing and implementing innovative competition models to solve the world’s grandest challenges. Active competitions include the $30M Google Lunar XPRIZE, the $20M NRG COSIA Carbon XPRIZE, the $15M Global Learning XPRIZE, the $10M Qualcomm Tricorder XPRIZE, the $7M Shell Ocean Discovery XPRIZE, the $7M Adult Literacy XPRIZE, the $7M Barbara Bush Foundation Adult Literacy XPRIZE, $5M IBM Watson AI XPRIZE, the $1.75M Water Abundance XPRIZE and the $1M Anu and Naveen Women’s Safety XPRIZE. For more information, visit

About NRG

NRG is the leading integrated power company in the U.S., built on the strength of the nation’s largest and most diverse competitive electric generation portfolio and leading retail electricity platform. A Fortune 200 company, NRG creates value through best in class operations, reliable and efficient electric generation, and a retail platform serving residential and commercial businesses. Working with electricity customers, large and small, we continually innovate, embrace and implement sustainable solutions for producing and managing energy. We aim to be pioneers in developing smarter energy choices and delivering exceptional service as our retail electricity providers serve almost three million residential and commercial customers throughout the country. More information is available at Connect with NRG Energy on Facebook and follow us on Twitter @nrgenergy.

COSIA Media Contact
Eileen Kahler / Kristen Ashcroft
403.818.2889 /

XPRIZE Media Contact:
Eric Desatnik / Jackie Wei
310.741.4918 /