Most wanted – High reward for capturing carbon dioxide
Earlier in January 2021 Elon Musk blew up the carbon innovation space by tweeting that he will donate $100M to the best carbon capture technology. Shortly after, the XPRIZE Foundation announced it would run the contest for the billionaire’s proposal, which it says is the largest incentive prize in history. Teams and innovators from anywhere in the world are invited “to create and demonstrate a solution that can pull carbon dioxide directly from the atmosphere or oceans and lock it away permanently in an environmentally benign way”.
Gregg Betz, ImpactScope Co-founder, feels opportunistic about the entry. “ImpactScope is pleased to commit to developing this valuable initiative. I’ve personally been a huge fan of the exponential effects of the XPRIZE in stimulating investment and development for years and I’m so excited to have the chance to become a part of the XPRIZE ecosystem with our promising technology.”
Promising innovation with scalability potential for averting climate change
Budapest headquartered startup, ImpactScope operating in the booming nexus of blockchain and climate action teamed up with a Hungarian engineer to enter the XPRIZE with a Direct Air Capture (DAC) technology that removes CO2 from ambient air using a novel and low-cost material.
The technology is based on an industrial apparatus that pushes ambient air through a filter, where the selectively bonded carbon dioxide in the material is then released under controlled circumstances producing concentrated CO2 gas at high efficiency (1kg CO2/1kg material/day). As energy efficiency is no longer just a low-hanging fruit, but a requirement in carbon tech, this concept is advantageous over other materials as there’s almost no energy required to capture and safely release the CO2 in a process where the electricity needed can be generated by a proportionally small-scale solar PV system. XPRIZE makes it crystal clear that in order to qualify for Musk’s grant, the entering solutions have to ensure net-negative CO2 removal, meaning after capturing the CO2 has to be safely parked for at least 100 years without leakage. The Hungarian innovation entered by ImpactScope to the competition only needs 3 tons of this novel material to capture the 1000 tons of CO2/year minimum threshold set by XPRIZE.
András Tél, Entrepreneur Engineer, adds: “Our technology provides a scalable, energy-efficient solution for Direct Air Capture. A device that is capable of capturing 1000 tons of CO2 per year costs around $150k and fits within just a few cubic meters (m3), weighing less than 6 tons, and it can be placed anywhere. Our biggest challenge is to find the best usage for the concentrated CO2 we produce, as our solution doesn’t sequester CO2. We’re working with algae bioreactors as of now, however they’re not nearly as efficient as our DAC technology, therefore we’re looking for a more efficient sequestration solution.”
XPRIZE is encouraging all changemakers to seek collaboration and look for ways to complement their own innovations with other teams’ solutions. With this project, ImpactScope focuses on the concept and materialization of carbon capture and is keen to get in touch with competing teams and other experts to help turn their captured CO2 into biochar through microalgae bioreactors. Furthermore, they are open to expertise regarding any other possible uses of storage or utilization of carbon dioxide. The ImpactScope team has high hopes of entering the XPRIZE ecosystem and to potentially contribute to driving Green Premiums down with their DAC technology.
ImpactScope is a Geneva, Tallinn, and Budapest based social enterprise providing sustainability solutions to digital asset marketplaces, crypto enthusiasts, bitcoin miners, and institutional investors. Their mission is to bring Bitcoin and blockchain technology into carbon negative territory by providing assessment and advisory services from top experts in the field as well as end-to-end implementation of transformative and sustainable solutions.
Article by Viktor Jósa, Head of Climate Action Partnerships at ImpactScope