Winner of the $ 20 Million Contest Makes Concrete to Confine Carbon Dioxide


Cheyenne, Wyoming (AP) —The organizer of a $ 20 million contest to develop products from greenhouse gases flowing from power plants before starting a similar, but much larger, competition backed by Elon Musk. We announced two winners on Monday.

Both winners have the potential to create carbon dioxide trapped concrete that keeps it away from the atmosphere and contributes to climate change. Marcius Extavour, Vice President of Climate and Energy at XPRIZE, states that the production of cement, a key component of concrete, accounts for 7% of global greenhouse gas emissions.

“Therefore, it is not surprising that the winning team focused on reducing concrete-related emissions, which will revolutionize global decarbonization,” he said in a statement. I am.

Meanwhile, electric vehicle and space entrepreneur Musk has promised $ 100 million to researchers who can show how to trap large amounts of carbon dioxide directly from the atmosphere and store gas permanently. The competition begins on Thursday, Earth Day.

“We are looking for a team to build a real system that can have measurable impact and scale to the gigaton level. Take your life. Tesla and SpaceX Founder and CEO Musk Said in February.

Both contests are sponsored by the XPRIZE, which encourages new technologies by giving prize money to show results. Most notably, Mojave Aerospace Ventures won the $ 10 million XPRIZE in 2004 for the first multiple, privately funded, reusable rocket-powered aircraft to fly into space.

The $ 20 million prize announced on Monday consisted of two parts: a coal-fired power plant in Wyoming and a gas-fired power plant in Alberta, Canada. The contest focused on the use of carbon dioxide emitted from plant chimneys, and the winners showed that the emissions could be trapped in cement to make stronger concrete in some cases.

According to XPRIZE, Los Angeles-based Carbon Built, the winner of the Wyoming plant, uses carbon dioxide to harden concrete and trap it in a process that emits less greenhouse gases than traditional cement production. I did.

According to XPRIZE, the winner in Alberta was CarbonCure Technologies, based in Dartmouth, Nova Scotia, who showed that carbon dioxide could be injected into the water used to flush cement trucks and mixers at cement plants.

The two winners split $ 15 million. In 2018, 10 finalists split the remaining $ 5 million.

The US part of the contest was held at the Wyoming Integrated Testing Center. This is a coal-fired power plant facility near Gillette, hosting research on how to trap and use carbon dioxide in real-world scenarios.

Governor Mark Gordon often advertised research centers as an example of Wyoming’s interest in finding solutions to climate change — in the process potentially protecting the state’s declining coal industry.

US coal production has halved in the last 15 years or so as utilities get more electricity from renewables and cheap natural gas. About 40% of US coal comes from Wyoming, far more than any other state.

The state paid three-quarters of the $ 20 million cost of the Wyoming Integrated Testing Center, which opened in 2018.

Jason Begger, Managing Director of the Center, said: “Cement factories may not make much sense at Wyoming power plants, but they may make a lot of sense in Japan.”

Wyoming officials have expressed interest in participating in a Musk-funded XPRIZE contest, but he hasn’t responded, said Gordon spokesman Michael Perlman.

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