It broke ground in 2016 with a lot of fanfare, but the NRG COSIA Carbon XPRIZE finalists who will be using Wyoming's Integrated Test at Dry Fork Station in Gillette won't be moving in until this summer.
The $20 million XPrize contest is asking teams from around the world to use the carbon capture facility to try and research what can be done with Co2 emissions from power plants. It will be the first time these technologies will be tested in the real world.
"This is an opportunity for us to reimagine carbon and it would literally take what is considered a pollutant and transform it into a valuable asset,” said Jerimiah Rieman, Wyoming's Diversification Director.
Last week, ten finalists were chosen. Five of them may make their home in Gillette while the contest is underway, the remaining five teams will instead study natural gas in Canada. These two different research fields will each have one winner to share the prize, at $7.5 million awarded to each winning team. The winners won't be chosen until 2020.
The teams chosen for the finals are looking in to using carbon emissions to create better concrete, plastic, methanol, and other building materials. They come from Scotland, India, China, and right here in the U.S. Gillette's five teams are:
Team Breathe (Bangalore, India) – Led by Dr. Sebastian Peter, the team is producing methanol, a common fuel and petrochemical feedstock, using a novel catalyst.
Team C4X (Suzhou, China) – Led by Dr. Wayne Song and Dr. Yuehui Li, the team is producing chemicals and bio-composite foamed plastics.
Team Carbon Capture Machine (Aberdeen, Scotland) – Led by Dr. Mohammed Imbabi, the team is producing solid carbonates with applications to building materials.
Team Carbon Cure (Dartmouth, Canada) – Led by Jennifer Wagner, the team is producing stronger, greener concrete.
Carbon Upcycling UCLA (Los Angeles, CA, USA) – Led by Dr. Gaurav Sant, the team is producing building materials that absorb CO2 during the production process to replace concrete.
Studying Natural Gas in Alberta will be: Team C2CNT (Ashburn, Virginia), Team Carbicrete (Montreal, Canada), Team CERT (Toronto, Canada), Team CUT (Calgary, Canada), and Team Newlight (Huntington Beach, California).
Brenda Kirk is a writer with over two decades of journalism experience.