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New $20 Million XPRIZE Aims to Tackle CO2 Emissions from Fossil Fuels

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At Fortune’s Brainstorm E conference today, XPRIZE Chairman and CEO Peter Diamandis announces the $20M NRG COSIA Carbon XPRIZE, a competition to address CO2 emissions from fossil fuels. With registration opening today, teams are challenged to develop breakthrough technologies that convert the most CO2 into one or more products with the highest net value. Co-sponsored by NRG and COSIA, the 4-½ year competition will include two tracks, with the new technologies tested 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,” said Diamandis. “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 International Energy Agency, 82 percent of the world’s energy supply is derived from fossil fuels. While cleaner energy sources are on the rise, overall energy demand is expected to grow 37 percent by 2040, making immediate carbon mitigation solutions even more urgent. Few challenges are greater or more critical than ensuring access to clean, affordable and abundant energy. As CO2 emissions from fossil fuels continue to be a leading contributor to climate change, the Carbon XPRIZE will address global CO2 emissions by incentivizing solutions to convert CO2 from a liability into an asset.

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, NRG. “We’re using the highly effective XPRIZE process to engage 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 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 various technologies and approaches developed by teams during the competition. XPRIZE will also appoint a third-party Scientific Advisory Board of experts available to advise on a variety of approaches to CO2 conversion.

The Carbon XPRIZE is a part of XPRIZE’s growing portfolio of Energy & Environment prizes and long-term vision for accelerating revolutionary energy technologies to help move the world towards a clean, abundant energy future.

For more information, and to register your intent to compete, visit carbon.xprize.org.

About XPRIZE

Founded in 1995, XPRIZE is the leading organization solving the world’s Grand Challenges by creating and managing large-scale, high-profile, incentivized prizes in five areas: Learning; Exploration; Energy & Environment; Global Development; and Life Sciences. Active prizes include the $30M Google Lunar XPRIZE, the $15M Global Learning XPRIZE, the $10M Qualcomm Tricorder XPRIZE, and the $7M Adult Literacy XPRIZE. For more information, go to www.xprize.org.

About NRG Energy

NRG is leading a customer-driven change in the U.S. energy industry by delivering cleaner and smarter energy choices, while building on the strength of the nation’s largest and most diverse competitive power portfolio. A Fortune 250 company, NRG creates value through reliable and efficient conventional generation while driving innovation in solar and renewable power, electric vehicle ecosystems, carbon capture technology and customer-centric energy solutions. NRG’s retail electricity providers serve almost 3 million residential and commercial customers throughout the country. More information is available at www.nrg.com. Connect with NRG Energy on Facebook and follow on Twitter @nrgenergy.

About COSIA

COSIA (Canada’s Oil Sands Innovation Alliance) is an alliance of 13 oil sands producers, representing 90 percent of production from the Canadian oil sands. COSIA’s vision is to enable responsible and sustainable development of Canada’s oil sands as a global energy source while delivering accelerated improvement in environmental performance through collaborative action and innovation in areas of greenhouse gases, land, tailings and water. Since COSIA’s inception in 2012, member companies have shared more than 777 environmental technologies worth over $950 million. Find out more at www.cosia.ca and follow on Twitter at @COSIA_ca.

Contact information

XPRIZE
Eric Desatnik / Jackie Wei
310.741.4892 / 310.741.4918
eric@xprize.org / jackie.wei@xprize.org

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