Latest XPrize offers $20 million to find new uses for carbon emissions

Asking the public to "reimagine carbon," a group of oilsands companies is helping to launch a $20-million XPrize competition to find innovative ways to address carbon emissions.

CALGARY — Asking the public to “reimagine carbon,” a group of oilsands companies is helping to launch a $20-million XPrize competition to find innovative ways to address carbon emissions.

Dan Wicklum, chief executive of Canada’s Oil Sands Innovation Alliance, said the goal is to find practical uses for converted carbon emissions, rather than an outright reduction in carbon dioxide production.

“The competition will promote and advance the discovery and development of new technologies to take carbon emissions, which are now seen as a liability, and change them into a resource, a valuable, usable product,” Wicklum said at the public launch Tuesday.

Calling climate change “one of the biggest challenges facing the planet,” Wicklum said carbon emissions are a key contributor to the problem, and oilsands producers are part of that.

“We’re part of the global problem, but today is about taking a leadership role in becoming part of the global solution,” he said.

“Today we’re throwing down the gauntlet, we are lighting a fire under the brightest minds in the world.”

Wicklum said that fossil fuels will continue to be a source of energy for years to come, so research needs to be done on both reducing emissions and on better managing the emissions that are produced.

“Under any scenario, petroleum will be a part of our energy mix in the foreseeable future, so it just makes sense to work on reducing emissions, but also on the game changing technologies too. So it’s a balanced approach.”

The competition runs for four and a half years and the winning team will be the one that converts the most CO2 into one or more products with the highest net value and the smallest environmental impact.

Possible solutions listed by the organizers include new ways to make cement and other building materials, chemicals to make industrial and consumer goods, low-carbon transportation fuels, or entirely new products.

Teams will be able to choose between capturing carbon emissions from a coal power plant or a natural gas facility.

Several large-scale carbon capture projects have been or are being developed, but efforts so far to find uses for the captured carbon have been limited.

Saskatchewan’s government-owned utility, SaskPower, opened the $1.4-billion Boundary Dam carbon capture project last year, which it bills as the first commercial scale effort of its kind.

Under the project, some of the carbon captured from a coal power plant is sold to the oil companies which pump it into the ground to increase the amount of oil companies can pump out.

Royal Dutch Shell’s Quest carbon capture project, the first for an oilsands project in Canada, will take carbon emissions from the Scotford Upgrader and pump it into porous rock two kilometres underground.

The Carbon XPrize is being half-funded by U.S.-based NRG Energy, a utility that promotes renewable energy, and half by Canada’s Oil Sands Innovation Alliance, founded by 13 oilsands companies to find ways to reduce the environmental impacts of the industry. Only eight of the 13 COSIA member companies are taking part in this competition.

The non-profit XPrize foundation, known for organizing high-profile research competitions like creating the first private space flight, will run the competition.

Just Posted

Missing Calgary man spent time in Red Deer

Calgary Police Service seek public’s assistance

Trudeau says Ottawa open to proposals for B.C. refinery as gas prices soar

VICTORIA — Prime Minister Justin Trudeau says Ottawa is open to proposals… Continue reading

Oil price rises on Mideast tensions, stock markets cautious

BANGKOK — The price of oil rose on Friday after the U.S.… Continue reading

Sexual harassment complaints soaring amid ‘frat boy culture’ in airline industry

Mandalena Lewis was enjoying a layover in Hawaii with her WestJet co-workers… Continue reading

Alta Mental Health Act found unconstitutional after man held for nine months

CALGARY — An Alberta judge has found parts of the province’s Mental… Continue reading

Golf Canada’s 2020 Olympic preparations on track with qualifying formula helping

Fifteen years ago, golfers didn’t have to worry about making the Olympics.… Continue reading

Canadian women confirmed for second trip to Rugby League World Cup

TORONTO — Canada has been confirmed as one of eight women’s teams… Continue reading

Tom Cruise surprises Comic-Con with ‘Top Gun’ sequel trailer

SAN DIEGO — Tom Cruise has made an unexpected flyby at San… Continue reading

Warm memories, hit singles: Randy Bachman and Burton Cummings reunite for charity show

TORONTO — Former Guess Who bandmates Randy Bachman and Burton Cummings reunited… Continue reading

Calgary Stampeders bounce back with 26-16 win over Toronto Argonauts

Stampeders 26 Argonauts 16 CALGARY — Juwan Brescacin hauled in a pair… Continue reading

Chris Sale snaps Fenway losing streak, beats Blue Jays 5-0

Red Sox 5 Blue Jays 0 BOSTON — That was a relief.… Continue reading

Critics and industry clash over accuracy of Alberta well cleanup cost estimates

CALGARY — An Alberta coalition that says oil and gas producers are… Continue reading

Rapelling from great heights to grant Red Deer wishes

Twenty brave individuals will rappel 13 storeys down Stantec Executive Place on… Continue reading

Most Read