Carbfix on path to $100m Musk Foundation award

By Arctic Business Journal - November 25, 2022

The Icelandic firm and its partners, Heirloom and Verdox, have won two separate Milestone Prizes in the Elon Musk-financed competition

Where the (highly scientific) magic happens (📸: Carbfix)

If you had a million dollars, would you spend it on saving the world from climate change? Well, Elon Musk would. The ambitious XPRIZE will fund carbon-removal technologies in order to slow down climate changes, and Carbfix is in it to win it, taking two Milestone Prizes home to Iceland on Earth Day.

The XPRIZE Carbon Removal aims to reduce human-caused climate change and rebalance the Earth’s carbon cycle. The $100m (€98m) prize, funded by Elon Musk and the Musk Foundation, is the most significant incentive prize in history aimed at scaling up carbon-capture technologies. ‎

The judges filtered through nearly 500 submissions to identify 15 teams that will each receive a $1m Milestone Prize this year. The competition will conclude in 2025, when judges will identify the recipient of the $50m grand prize. Three runners-up will each take home $10 million.

Carbfix and its partners, Heirloom and Verdox, have won two separate Milestone Prizes. These will the companies to scale up their direct-air capture technologies that make it possible to bind the captured emissions into stone.

“We are immensely honoured to receive such a solid recognition in this prestigious and highly competitive incentive programme,” Edda Sif Pind Aradóttir, the Carbfix chief executive, said. “We’ve already been applying our method of underground carbon-dioxide mineralisation for ten years. Presently, we are aiming for significant upscaling of our tried and tested technology, an ambition which will be greatly supported by our XPRIZE success and our excellent partnerships in those projects.”

Milestone Prize-winning teams were required to demonstrate carbon-dioxide removal at the scale of 1,000 tons per year and model costs for removing a million (megaton) per year, as well as to present a strategy for sustainably reaching 1,000 million tons (gigaton) per year.

Carbfix partnered with San Francisco-based Heirloom, Boston-based Verdox for its two winning submissions.

Fellow rock lover Heirloom captures carbon dioxide from the atmosphere by accelerating the natural properties of rocks, placing abundant, affordable rocks in an engineered system that maximises the surface area of the minerals exposed to the atmosphere. This simple, modular system has the lowest peer-reviewed cost of any direct-air capture system.

Verdox utilises electrical carbon-capture technology to sustainably remove carbon dioxide from the atmosphere. Verdox’s technology uses only electricity as an input and requires no heat or water. This significantly reduces energy consumption and cost while eliminating any potential side effects.

Carbfix provides the company’s decade-long tried-and-tested safe and permanent underground mineralisation technology to sequester the carbon dioxide captured by Heirloom’s and Verdox’s innovative carbon-capture technologies.

Together with Climeworks, Carbfix runs the Orca carbon-dioxide sequestering plant. The large-scale direct-air capture and removal plant binds the captured carbon dioxide into stone. It is the first of a planned three such facilities that will allow Iceland to remain a pioneer in the industry.

This article was produced by Green by Iceland.

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