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$20 Million Carbon XPRIZE Contest Under Way

XPRIZE Chairman and CEO Peter Diamandis recently announced the $20 million NRG COSIA Carbon XPRIZE, a competition to address CO2 emissions from fossil fuels. Registration opened Sept. 29 in the contest, which will last 4.5 years, with competing teams challenged to develop breakthrough technologies that convert the most carbon dioxide into one or more products with the highest net value. It is co-sponsored by NRG and Canada's Oil Sands Innovation Alliance (COSIA), an alliance of 13 oil sands producers that represen 90 percent of production from the Canadian oil sands, and will test the new technologies at either a coal power plant or a natural gas facility.

"We are living in an age of unprecedented technological progress and prosperity driven by energy," Diamandis said, "yet most of this energy comes from burning fossil fuels, a leading contributor to climate change. We are embarking on one urgent step in XPRIZE's energy roadmap of incentivizing a clean and positive energy future that addresses a suite of grand challenges."

According to the announcement, the Carbon XPRIZE "will incentivize breakthrough technologies that convert CO2 into a product or suite of products such as: alternative cement, concrete, and other building materials; chemicals used to manufacture a variety of industrial and consumer goods; low-carbon transportation fuels; and possibly new products altogether."

"Carbon is a unique challenge in that as we move toward a low to zero-emission future, we'll need to continue using fossil fuels to meet current energy demands," said Sicily Dickenson, chief marketing officer at NRG. "Through innovation in carbon capture technology, we hope to challenge the world's brightest minds to find a solution that helps solve emissions problems and simultaneously creates viable products that we use every day."

"We know that CO2 emissions contribute to climate change, so we're continually working to improve our environmental performance in the oil sands," said Dan Wicklum, COSIA's chief executive. "This competition will be a catalyst to accelerate our progress towards a cleaner global energy future by converting CO2 emissions into valuable products. A team may win the money, but our energy future will win the prize."

XPRIZE will appoint a judging panel to evaluate the entries and also a a third-party Scientific Advisory Board of experts available to advise on a variety of approaches to CO2 conversion. For more information or to register your intent to compete, visit

Founded 20 years ago, XPRIZE manages large-scale, incentivized prizes in five areas: Learning; Exploration; Energy & Environment; Global Development; and Life Sciences. For more information, visit

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