Could a tax credit turbocharge carbon-tech?



The proposed increase in tax credits for carbon capture and storage, introduced Wednesday in the U.S. House of Representatives, may well be intended to revive the notion of “clean coal.” But it also could turbocharge breakthrough technologies for sucking carbon out of the air.

The NRG Cosia Carbon XPRIZE has been driving innovation in carbon-capture by dangling $20 million in prizes for technologies to convert carbon dioxide emissions from power plants and factories into everyday products like building materials and alternative fuels.

The goal is to make carbon capture pay for itself, turning emissions-reduction from a cost to an asset, and actually reduce emissions overall as quickly as possible,” the XPRIZE’s Marcius Extavour told ImpactAlpha. “The ultimate goal is for carbon conversion to play a part in a completely transformed industrial economy, around the world.”

The 47 entrants have been winnowed to about two dozen that are working feverishly to hit the next stage.

Among the semi-finalists: Hayward, Calif.-based Kiverdi, which is converting CO2 into high-protein meal and oils with properties similar to plant-based oil. CarbonCure, Dartmouth, Canada, is recycling carbon dioxide to make stronger concrete. Breathe, a team in Bangalore, India, is developing technology to convert CO2 to usable methanol for shampoos, plastics and other products.

Next year, 10 finalists will be challenged to replicate their demonstration projects — at 10 times the scale.

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