In 2008, Prize Capital initiated and spearheaded the process that is leading to the potential launch of the Carbon XPRIZE, a high profile, international competition to find viable technologies that can cost-effectively utilize carbon emissions from industrial facilities to produce valuable products.

Developing the Carbon XPRIZE

In 2008, Prize Capital began researching an appropriate category for the first deployment of its venture finance model.  This lead Prize Capital to algae, and the promise of an algae fuel prize.  On April 28, 2009, Prize Capital hosted its first prize development workshop at the Scripps Seaside Forum in La Jolla, CA.

Industrial Uses of CO2,
Parsons Brinckerhoff,
March 2011
Carbon Capture and Utilisation in the Green Economy, Centre for Low Carbon Futures, July 2011

© Prize Capital, LLC

All Rights Reserved

On October 7, 2009, Prize Capital presented at the Algae Biomass Summit hosted by the Algae Biomass Organization.

In the audience at the Summit were representatives of Sunflower Integrated Bioenergy (SIB), a center that was being developed on the site of Sunflower Electric Power Corporation’s Holcomb Station.  It was this meeting and subsequent conversations with SIB that prompted the realization that while algae could produce fuel, it also afforded the service of rapidly absorbing CO2, which is of benefit to electric utilities.  And algae isn’t the only technology that can absorb and utilize CO2 - there were other non-biological approaches as well.  Thus, the approach no longer was limited to the production of transportation fuel nor to the inclusion of biological technologies.  The “Carbon Utilization Prize” was born.

SIB introduced Prize Capital to Tri-State Generation and Transmission Association in early 2010.  Tri-State is a wholesale electric power supplier owned by the 44 electric cooperatives that it serves. Tri-State generates and transmits electricity to its member systems and their approximately 1.5 million consumers throughout a 200,000 square-mile service territory across Colorado, Nebraska, New Mexico and Wyoming.  Together, Prize Capital and Tri-State embarked on a multi-year journey to develop a platform that can catalyze  technologies that are able to lower CO2 emissions while maintaining utilities’ ability to provide reliable, affordable baseload electricity.

On August 5, 2010, Prize Capital organized and produced its second prize development workshop, which was hosted by the St. Louis Science Center in St. Louis, MO.  The St. Louis Science Center had historical significance for the prize, given that it was where the Ansari XPRIZE was based and awarded in 2004.

The relationship with Tri-State included Prize Capital’s production of four volumes of syndicated research to fully inform and document the Carbon Prize development process and potential.

The four volumes, along with the draft prize rulesets that Prize Capital produced based on input from over 120 industry experts and the two prize development workshops helped attract an industry consortium to join in the effort to make the Carbon XPRIZE and associated components as successful as possible.

These publications and other forms of due diligence also helped inform the emergence and passage of Wyoming Enrolled Act HEA0041, which will fund and develop the world’s first “Integrated Test Center” - a real-world carbon technology innovation center that will be based in Gillette, Wyoming.

Prize Capital is proud to have been the initiator and founding sponsor of the Carbon XPRIZE and its founding sponsor, and to have developed with Tri-State a comprehensive platform to catalyze CO2 mitigation technologies.

Wyoming Enrolled Act HEA0041, authorizing the construction of an “Integrated Test Center” to advance carbon management technologies.

Other Carbon Utilization Resources

Carbon Dioxide Utilization, Electrochemical Conversion of CO2 – Opportunities and Challenges
DNV, July 2011
California Carbon Capture and Storage Review Panel - Technical Advisory Committee Report, Beneficial Use of Carbon Dioxide, October 2010
National Energy Technology Laboratory (NETL), Cost and Performance Metrics Used to Assess Carbon Capture, Utilization, and Storage (CCUS) Technologies, February 2014

Historical Progression of the Carbon Prize Rulesets

The 3rd Generation Renewable Fuels Prize, April 2009
The Algae Fuel Prize, September, 2009
The Carbon Utilization Prize, January, 2010
Carbon Prize - Abbreviated Ruleset Outline - DRAFT v10, November, 2010