Five out of five climatologists agree—we’re probably going to emit more CO2 than we should if we want to prevent the worst effects of climate change.
Fortunately, there’s a solution—capturing that CO
“It’s the second largest prize we’ve ever launched,” Paul Bunje, senior scientist of energy and environment at Xprize, toldNOVA Next . “It’s a recognition of a couple of things: One is the scale of the challenge at hand—dealing with carbon dioxide emissions is obviously an epic challenge for the entire plant. Secondly, it also recognizes just how difficult, technologically, this challenge is.”
Starting today, teams have nine months to register, and by late 2016, they’ll need to submit technical documentation in support of their plans. A panel of judges will then pick the best 15 in each “track”—one which captures emissions from a coal-fired power plant, the other from a natural gas-fired plant.
The 30 semifinalists will then have to develop laboratory-scale versions of their plans. The best five from each track will receive a $500,000 grant to help fund the next stage, where teams will have to build demonstration-scale facilities that will be attached to working power plants. Four and a half years from now, a winner from each track will be chosen and be awarded $7.5 million.
Bunje, who is leading this Xprize, hopes the prize will show that “CO 2 doesn’t just have to be a waste product that drives climate change—rather, that you can make money off of the products from converted CO 2 ,” he said. “That kind of a perception shift will be pretty remarkable.”