Former Carbon XPRIZE Semi-Finalist, Pond Technologies Holdings Inc., has entered the latest XPRIZE Carbon Removal competition. Funded by Elon Musk and the Musk Foundation, this $100M competition is among the largest incentive prizes in history. Previously, Pond was a semifinalist in the 2017 global $20 Million NRG Cosia Carbon XPRIZE competition to transform carbon into useful products.
XPRIZE Carbon Removal is a four-year global competition that invites innovators and teams from anywhere on the planet to create and demonstrate solutions that can pull carbon dioxide directly from the atmosphere or oceans ultimately scaling massively to gigaton levels, while locking away CO₂ permanently in an environmentally benign way. Pond CEO, Grant Smith commented, “Pond is excited to demonstrate the advancements in Pond’s proprietary carbon removal capabilities since our last XPRIZE entry. We believe that offering industrial emitters a meaningful revenue stream from the natural sequestration of CO₂ emissions in algae will play a major role in hastening the global reduction of carbon.”
Located in Markham, Ontario, Pond is a technology leader in controlled environment cultivation of microalgae. In over ten years of R&D, it has developed a robust technology platform based on artificial intelligence, proprietary LED-lights and patented CO₂ management. The use of concentrated CO₂ from industrial waste streams enables Pond to boost productivity of microalgae beyond the capacity of outdoor algae growers and allows industrial emitters to abate and ultimately recycle CO₂.
The company’s proprietary system profitably transforms CO₂ into valuable products. Emissions from smokestacks and other industrial facilities are redirected to large bioreactors. The emissions are moved through the algae-filled reactors where the technology capitalizes on algae’s natural appetite for CO₂. Conditions are optimized using lighting, sensors, and computer algorithms. Emissions are cleaned, oxygen is output, and algae is grown. After only a few days, the algae are harvested and processed into marketable products.
While their initial focus was on growing algae from food-grade CO₂, over time the company has evolved their system into a highly adaptable growth platform. Going beyond algae, the system can be applied to sensor-supported farming of terrestrial plants in greenhouses, or bioremediation of contaminated water
The XPRIZE notes “The International Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) estimates that we may need to remove as much as 10 billion tons of CO₂ per year by 2050, including 2.5 gigatons per year by 2030, to avoid the worst effects of climate change. For humanity to reach the Paris Agreements goal of limiting the Earth’s temperature rise to no more than 1.5˚(C) of pre-industrial levels, or even 2˚(C), we need bold, radical tech innovation and scale up that goes beyond limiting CO₂ emissions, but actually removing the CO₂ already in the air and oceans. If humanity continues on a business-as-usual path, the global average temperature would increase 6˚(C) by the year 2100.”
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