XPRIZE's goal is to find and support new uses for carbon dioxide emissions. The Wyoming track is focused on CO2 emissions from coal-fired power plants. There's also a track in Alberta focused on natural gas emissions. The effort in Wyoming is based out of the Integrated Test Center in Gillette, where five finalists will congregate this summer to demonstrate their product.
Carbicrete, a finalist in the Alberta track, pulled out after receiving funding for its own pilot facility. CarbonCure a finalist in Wyoming took its place in Alberta, creating an opening here in Wyoming. In its release, XPRIZE judge Dr. Andrea Ramirez said, "this decision was not an easy one, but Dimensional's progress in the last year and innovative concept bring new elements to the competition. We are looking forward to seeing all teams in action next year."
Dimensional Energy has developed a way to use solar power and CO2 emissions to create syngas and methanol, building blocks for liquid fuels, synthetic plastics and other chemicals.
CEO of Dimensional Energy Jason Salfi said, "what we're doing is taking sun and delivering the useful part of the spectrum into our reactor and driving the reduction of carbon dioxide."
He said no one has done what they're proposing to any scale.
Salfi added there will be some challenges starting later than other competitors. For instance, he said they were in the middle of fundraising and hiring for a specific team.
"This will be a significantly larger in-situ pilot than what we endeavored to do. And since we had left the Carbon XPRIZE behind 11 months ago, our new milestones didn't really take this into account," he said.
Plus, he said there will be some difficulties testing out the product in a Wyoming winter, with a reliance on solar power. The project has only functioned indoors so far.
All five finalists will set up shop at the Integrated Test Center this summer. The final competition takes place April 2020.
Other four candidates in the Wyoming Track:
- Breathe (Bangalore, India) - Led by Dr. Sebastian Peter, the team is producing methanol, a common fuel and petrochemical feedstock, using a novel catalyst.
- C4X (Suzhou, China) - Led by Dr. Wayne Song and Dr. Yuehui Li, the team is producing chemicals and bio-composite foamed plastics.
- Carbon Capture Machine (Aberdeen, Scotland) - Led by Dr. Mohammed Imbabi, the team is producing solid carbonates with applications to building materials.
- Carbon Upcycling UCLA (Los Angeles, CA, USA) - Led by Dr. Gaurav Sant, the team is producing building materials that absorb CO2 during the production process to replace concrete.