Ten teams from five countries were recently named finalists for the US$20 million NRG COSIA Carbon XPRIZE competition. Seven of Canada’s Oil Sands Innovation Alliance (COSIA) member companies, led by ConocoPhillips Canada, partnered with NRG Energy, a leading U.S. integrated power company, to back the global competition. The competition began in 2015 with 47 entries from seven countries. Winning teams will be announced in 2020.

The prize challenges the world to reimagine what can be done with carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions by incentivizing and accelerating the development of technologies that convert CO2 from fossil fuel combustion into valuable products. Finalist teams range from entrepreneurs and start-ups to academic institutions and companies that have been tackling the carbon challenge for more than a decade. These teams are working on transforming carbon from emissions into things people will use, such as enhanced concrete, liquid fuels, plastics and carbon fiber.

“It’s really exciting to be able to provide the opportunity for these teams to develop CO2 conversion technologies in the lab, but more importantly in real world conditions to prove they can be deployed at power plants and other industrial facilities such as ours,” said ConocoPhillips Canada Vice President for Development Khoa Dao.

The competition has two tracks: one focused on testing technologies at a coal-fired power plant and one at a natural gas-fired power plant. The 10 finalists have received equal shares of a U.S. $5 million milestone prize to test their technologies at commercial scale under real-world conditions at the Integrated Test Center in Gillette, Wyoming for the coal track or at the Alberta Carbon Conversion Technology Centre in Calgary for the natural gas track.

Teams will be scored on how much COthey convert and the net value of their products. Ultimately, each of the two winning teams in the natural gas and coal tracks will be awarded a U.S. $7.5 million grand prize in the spring of 2020.