There are both natural and human sources of carbon dioxide emissions. Natural sources include decomposition, ocean release, and respiration. Human sources come from activities like cement production, deforestation as well as the burning of fossil fuels like coal, oil, and natural gas. Due to human activities, the atmospheric concentration of carbon dioxide has been rising extensively since the Industrial Revolution and has now reached dangerous levels not seen in the last 3 million years.
Human sources of carbon dioxide emissions are much smaller than natural emissions but they have upset the natural balance that existed for many thousands of years before the influence of humans. This is because natural sinks remove around the same quantity of carbon dioxide from the atmosphere than are produced by natural sources. This had kept carbon dioxide levels balanced and in a safe range. But human sources of emissions have upset the natural balance by adding extra carbon dioxide to the atmosphere without removing any.
A group of Canadian oilsands companies along with U.S.-based NRG Energy is funding an XPRIZE competition designed to solve one of the world’s most elusive problems: how to reduce CO2 emissions from the burning of fossil fuels. There is $20 million the U.S. up for grabs.
Image credit: XPRIZE
Global competition has been initiated by XPrize to develop breakthrough technologies that will convert CO₂ emissions from power plants and industrial facilities into valuable products like building materials, alternative fuels, and other items that we use every day.
Today, CO2 emissions from fossil fuels are a leading contributor to climate change and are seen as a waste product. Through COSIA, members are reducing CO2 emissions through collaborative action and innovation. Through the NRG COSIA Carbon XPRIZE, they will also be asking the world to reimagine CO2 as a building block for a better future.
Video credit: XPRIZE
How it was started?
More than a decade ago, a group of researchers published a landmark study showing the correlation between human development and energy consumption. Industrialized countries and those that have been growing quickly in recent decades have all benefitted from affordable, reliable energy—primarily in the form of fossil fuels. For these countries, access to energy has enabled unprecedented growth, transformation in production and mobility, and countless improvements in everyday life.
But burning fossil fuels to achieve this growth has also been the biggest contributor to the serious global problem of climate change. When we burn fossil fuels, carbon dioxide (CO2) is released. And while it’s true that CO2, at reasonable levels, is a normal and healthy part of the Earth’s atmosphere, it’s no longer at reasonable levels.
Emissions are an exponentially growing, global problem—a problem that won’t be solved by any single technology. We need every solution we can find, including not just continued incremental improvements, but radical new breakthroughs. Hence, there was a need for an Initiative that helps in reducing Carbon Dioxide from the environment. There is a launch of $20M NRG COSIA Carbon XPRIZE to spread awareness and enhance the Innovations in the area of CO2 emissions reduction around the world.
Why do we need this competition?
Researchers and innovators around the globe are looking at potential solutions that take CO2 emissions and turn them into valuable products—products like new and sustainable building materials; low-emission transportation fuels; and alternative chemical products that can be used to make everything from clothing and running shoes, to safer, stronger automobiles and breakthrough medicines. And that’s only the beginning.
About XPRIZE Competition
In the coming months, XPRIZE will be recruiting teams from around the globe to compete for the Carbon XPRIZE. They are looking for new, groundbreaking, transformational approaches to converting CO2 emissions into valuable products. And in order to demonstrate the widest possible applicability of potential solutions, the competition will have two tracks: one focused on testing technologies at a coal power plant, and one focused on testing technologies at a natural gas power plant.
Image credit: XPRIZE
The winning team will convert the most CO2 emissions into the highest value products. To be competitive, teams will have to make the business case for their approach as well as minimize their use of energy, water, land, and other inputs that have consequences for the environment.
Participate in the XPRIZE competition
The procedure for participation is very simple, First, you have to create a User Profile and Register for the competition by clicking the link XPRIZE. After the registration set up, you will be directed to a page with some important information about the competition. That’s it!