• environmental issue


PRNewswire May 8, 2024

The 4-year $100M competition catalyzed the industry toward game-changing carbon negative solutions

LOS ANGELES, May 8, 2024 /PRNewswire/ — XPRIZE, the world’s leader in designing and operating large-scale incentive competitions to solve humanity’s grand challenges, today announced the 20 finalist teams selected to compete in the last stage of its XPRIZE Carbon Removal. The four-year global competition is designed to combat climate change by rebalancing Earth’s carbon cycle, offering $100 million to innovators who can create and demonstrate solutions that remove carbon dioxide (CO2) directly from the atmosphere or the oceans and sequester it durably and sustainably. The prize helped catalyze the growth of an entire new industry, galvanizing over 1,300 teams to develop new ideas for carbon dioxide removal (CDR). These 20 finalists represent leading CDR solutions with the potential to make meaningful contributions to a diverse, global, sustainable, gigatonne-scale CDR effort.

XPRIZE Carbon Removal Logo

Excess CO2 in the Earth’s atmosphere and oceans is the main driver of climate change, with human-produced CO2 emissions accounting for roughly two-thirds (71%) of all greenhouse gas emissions. In addition to dramatic emissions reductions, sustainable and scalable carbon removal solutions will be needed to prevent average global temperatures from rising above 1.5°C, and avoid the risk of extreme heat, abnormal weather patterns, and stresses on food production and access to water, among other challenges. Without significant climate interventions, the global average temperature could increase by 6°C within this century.

“For the world to effectively address greenhouse gas emissions, carbon removal is an essential element of the path to Net Zero. There’s no way to reverse humanity’s impact on the climate without extracting carbon from our atmosphere and oceans,” said Anousheh Ansari, chief executive officer, XPRIZE. “We need a range of bold, innovative CDR solutions to manage the vast quantities of CO2 released into our environment and impacting our planet. The teams that have been competing for this Prize are all part of building a set of robust and effective solutions and our 20 teams advancing to the final stage of XPRIZE Carbon Removal will have an opportunity to demonstrate their potential to have a significant impact on the climate.”

The finalists were selected based upon their performance in three key areas: operations, sustainability, and cost. The finalists demonstrated their ability to execute a substantial demonstration that approaches the competition’s goal of removing 1,000 net tonnes of CO2 in the final year of the competition, and a viable pathway to reaching megatonne scale in the coming years and eventually gigatonne scale with an understanding of their environmental and social impacts.

The 20 finalist teams included below are listed by the competition’s four removal pathway tracks: Air, Rocks, Oceans, Land, Oceans.

Air, Direct Air Capture (DAC)
1. Airhive – HQ Location: UK, Demo Location: Canada
Airhive technology provides rapid CO2 removal via a low-cost, non-toxic metal oxide-based sorbent. Airhive is partnering with CO2 storage provider Exterra, who will react Airhive’s air-captured CO2 with mine tailings through their proprietary process.
2. Heirloom – HQ Location: US, Demo Location: US
Heirloom pioneers a low-cost DAC technology capable of permanently removing CO2 at a billion-tonne scale by rapidly accelerating the natural process of capturing CO2 from the atmosphere, forming limestone within days.
3. Octavia Carbon – HQ Location: Kenya, Demo Location: Kenya
Octavia Carbon is the Global South’s premier DAC company, specializing in designing, building, and deploying highly modular machines that extract CO2 directly from the atmosphere using advanced DAC technology.
4. Project Hajar (44.01 & Air Capture) – HQ Locations: Oman and US, Demo Location: Oman
Project Hajar, a collaboration between 44.01 and AirCapture, combines state-of-the-art DAC technology deployed by AirCapture in Oman with 44.01’s pioneering CO2 mineralization technology, aiming to turn captured CO2 into rock.
5. Skyrenu – HQ Location: Canada, Demo Location: Canada
Skyrenu combines a DAC system with a rock carbonation process to treat asbestos mine tailings in order to lock away carbon forever.

6. Arca – HQ Location: Canada, Demo Location: Australia
Arca’s patented technology accelerates carbon mineralization in mine tailings and waste rock, creating an industrial-scale carbon dioxide removal solution by activating magnesium silicate minerals to transform ultramafic mine waste into a massive carbon sink.
7. Lithos – HQ Location US, Demo Location: US
Lithos Carbon accelerates the Earth’s natural carbon cycle, deploying enhanced rock weathering (ERW) in agriculture to permanently remove CO2 from the air, while improving crop yields and soil health for farmers, utilizing organic-grade volcanic basalt dust and state-of-the-art science to measure CO2 removal, aiming to decarbonize the food system.
8. Mati – HQ Location: US, Demo Location: India
Mati durably removes carbon from the atmosphere using basalt based enhanced rock weathering (ERW) in smallholder rice paddy farms. This process removes atmospheric CO2 while adding key nutrients in the soil helping to restore degraded soils to benefit smallholder farmers.
9. Silicate – HQ: Ireland, Demo Location: Ireland 
Silicate Carbon utilizes surplus concrete from the building industry to amend agricultural land, harnessing natural geochemical processes to permanently remove carbon dioxide from the atmosphere via accelerated mineral weathering, while also enhancing soil pH, boosting crop productivity, and reducing reliance on pesticides and fertilizers.
10. UNDO – HQ Location: UK, Demo Location: UK
With nature-enabled enhanced rock weathering (ERW) technology, UNDO generates permanent, high-quality carbon removal credits with added co-benefits to support businesses on their pathway to net zero.
11. Yuanchu – HQ Location: China, Demo Location: China
Yuanchu is a pioneering startup focused on developing disruptive direct air mineralization (DAM) technology, aimed at removing CO2 from the air and permanently sequestering it into solid carbonated material on a gigatonne scale, with a cost of less than $200 per ton of CO2 and stable mineralization products lasting for 1000 years.

12. Climate Robotics – HQ Location: US, Demo Location: US
Climate Robotics enables broad-scale agriculture adoption of biochar which builds soil health and removes excess carbon from the atmosphere. The company’s mobile technology converts crop residues into durable biochar on the fly and in the field, making the economics work for farmers and our ecosystems. 
13. Mash Makes – HQ Location: Denmark, Demo Location: India
MASH Makes pioneers pyrolysis and gasification technology, which converts agricultural waste into carbon-negative energy and biochar for soil amendment, actively combating carbon emissions
14. Net Zero – HQ Location: France Demo Location: Brazil
NetZero’s mission is to scale up biochar as a climate and agricultural solution by focusing on the abundant unused crop residues in the tropics. They leverage its proprietary technology of mid-size, automated, highly optimized, and easily replicable pyrolysis plants, and operate an end-to-end model that fosters local farmer involvement as both suppliers of biomass and clients of biochar. This thereby streamlines logistics, enhances traceability, and promotes local buy-in.
15.  Takachar – HQ Location: India, Demo Location: Kenya
Takachar utilizes MIT technology to construct a decentralized internet-of-things-enabled reactor network, facilitating rapid and profitable scaling of biochar deployment independent of carbon offset credits. They use patent-pending, low-cost, and portable hardware. This enables village-based production of customizable biochar-based fertilizers from locally available crop residues, ultimately improving farmers’ crop yields by up to 30% and net income by 50%, thereby advancing climate justice.
16. Vaulted Deep – HQ Location: US, Demo Location: US
Vaulted delivers scalable, permanent, carbon removal by geologically sequestering carbon-filled organic wastes. Their patented slurry sequestration, which involves the geological injection of minimally processed wastes for permanent (10,000+ year) carbon removal.

17. Captura – HQ Location: US, Demo Location: US
Captura provides a scalable, low-cost direct ocean capture (DOC) carbon removal solution, producing a measurable stream of CO2 for sequestration, using only seawater and renewable energy, with no other external additives or by-products produced. DOC requires no freshwater, has a minimal land footprint and can operate with intermittent power.
18. Ebb – HQ Location: US, Demo Location: US
Ebb Carbon is pioneering a new carbon removal solution by enhancing the ocean’s natural ability to safely store CO2. This electrochemical ocean alkalinity enhancement method has the potential to be one of the largest scale and lowest cost approaches to removing excess CO2, while reducing ocean acidity.
19. Kelp Blue – HQ Location: Netherlands, Demo Location: Namibia
Kelp Blue cultivates giant kelp (Macrocystis pyrifera) in offshore farms off the coasts of Namibia, New Zealand, and soon Alaska, utilizing innovative submerged structures to overcome scaling limits of sheltered water and benefitting from local nutrient upwelling systems, with the harvested canopy biomass processed into sustainable agricultural and packaging products while the remaining biomass naturally sequesters carbon, supports biodiversity, and provides ecological benefits.
20. Planetary – HQ Location: Canada, Demo Location: Canada
Planetary leverages ocean alkalinity enhancement (OAE) to enhance the ocean’s natural carbon removal capabilities, developing global projects in collaboration with stakeholders and utilizing the ocean carbon platform (OCP) to qualify alkalinity sources, automate operations, ensure ocean safety, and measure and monetize carbon removal.

“This cohort of exceptional teams represents a diversity of innovations and solutions across a range of CDR pathways, and shows the significant progress the industry is making in a short period of time,” said Nikki Batchelor, executive director, XPRIZE Carbon Removal. “Over the past three years, this competition has helped accelerate the pace of technology development for a whole new industry of high-potential solutions aimed at reversing climate change.”

Additionally, the judges selected three “XFactor Teams” – Metalplant, Gigablue, and Alaska Future Ecology Institute – who will not be advancing in the Finals, but are pursuing exciting and novel concepts with significant potential impact. XPRIZE also released a list of the Top 100 teams that represent a new generation of promising solutions across a range of carbon removal pathways.

Since the inception of XPRIZE Carbon Removal in 2021, over 1,300 teams from 88 countries have participated across the competition’s four removal pathway tracks. These teams, totaling over 8,400 members, represent various backgrounds including scientists, engineers, technologists, students, and newcomers. 

“When it comes to reaching gigaton-scale removals, it is imperative for many innovators to be in the mix, each making a concerted, collaborative push to restore the climate. The XPRIZE Carbon Removal prize is the catalyst that this industry has been waiting for to drive innovation,” said Ben Rubin, Executive Director and Co-founder of the Carbon Business Council and key partner of the Carbon Removal prize. “The efforts of these teams are helping to supercharge first of their kind carbon removal pathways. We look forward to the impact that comes not only from the winning teams, but from the competition overall.”

The final stage of the competition will take place over the next year, wherein finalist teams are challenged to demonstrate 1,000 net tonnes of CO2 removal and will be judged based on their fully considered cost, operational performance, and against sustainable scalability requirements. To date, XPRIZE Carbon Removal awarded $20M, with $5M distributed to 23 student teams, and $15M awarded to 15 milestone winners. The grand prize winner will take home $50M, and $30M will be distributed amongst runners up chosen by the competition judges in April 2025.

XPRIZE Carbon Removal builds on XPRIZE’s previous work in the carbon management sector, which includes its NRG COSIA Carbon XPRIZE that offered $20M to innovators to develop breakthrough technologies that captured and converted industrial CO2 emissions into usable products. Awarded in 2021, the competition resulted in winning technologies that mineralize carbon into concrete to reduce the carbon footprint of the built environment.

XPRIZE Carbon Removal is funded by the Musk Foundation.

Learn more and get involved at xprize.org/carbonremoval.


XPRIZE is an established global leader in designing, launching, and executing large-scale competitions to solve humanity’s greatest challenges. Our unique model democratizes innovation by incentivizing crowd-sourced, scientifically viable solutions to create a more equitable and abundant future for all. Donate, learn more, or join a team at xprize.org.

About the Musk Foundation

The Musk Foundation creates grants made in support of: renewable energy research and advocacy; human space exploration research and advocacy; pediatric research; science and engineering education; and development of safe artificial intelligence to benefit humanity. 

Katy Frame


AAPR aggregates press releases and media statements from around the world to assist our news partners with identifying and creating timely and relevant news.

All of the press releases published on this website are third-party content and AAP was not involved in the creation of it. Read the full terms.