Wednesday, December 2, 2015

Carbon Xprize

I heard that you want to make difference in our world. That you want to do some hardcore and cool science for greater good. You are in good place buddy... good place. I want to give you quest, which once completed will change world to be a better place. Apart of that it will give you fame, and should give you some money. But this quest is very hard, and seems almost impossible to achieve. So it sounds like something worth trying, isn't it? Are you still with me? Good! I would like to tell you about carbon dioxide. You think this is boring? Wait till end of my story, and then please tell me what do you think ;).

What can we do from
carbon dioxide?

So, whats the deal with carbon dioxide? It's quite big I would say. Since humankind entered industrial age, we are producing and releasing it into atmosphere in huge amounts, practically without any control. And we know from series of repeated experiments, that releasing such amounts of CO_2 is changing our atmosphere and thus biosphere, in unwanted way. In short words, we are constantly polluting our living place which is our planet. And you know what is most funny? Carbon dioxide which is great factor of air pollution, is also resource. Yes, resource. It means that there are people which are making CO_2 and sell it to other people which are using it in their processes. I'm not expert in that, but you can easily check general applicability of CO_2 for example on Wikipedia.

So, if freely released into atmosphere in gigantic amount carbon dioxide hurts our biosphere, and there are some industries which consider carbon dioxide as an asset, why not connect this supply with demand, make some money and save the world? Exactly, why not?

And here comes big quest from me. Well, not from me to be honest, but from Xprize Foundation lead by Peter Diamandis. The deal is following: Build best solution to extract carbon dioxide form flue gas stream consistent with emissions from coal power generation or from natural gas power generation. Prove that your solution is the best and you will receive 7,5 M USD. But there are also some restrictions to add more excitement to competition. First restriction is related to efficiency of extraction of CO_2. To have chance of winning in this competition, proposed solution must extract at least 30% of available CO_2 in power plant fumes. Second restriction says that solution must use at most 4 cubic meters of water for each extracted ton of carbon dioxide. Last restriction defines dimension of proposed solution. It must fit in 2300 square meters.

Since we know now what is the quest, the last thing we need is to know how to enter competition. You need to go to Carbon Xprize website and register there. If you enter competition after march 2015 you will need to pay 8000 USD entry fee for desired competition track, and if you enter before march fee will be 5000 USD. You will probably need to organize general liability insurance, but this is matter which need to be consulted with professionals from insurance companies.

And this is more or less all. If you are interested in solving global carbon dioxide problem, there will be no better moment and motivation. Of course, this competition is extremely hard, partially because of rules, and partially by potential competition. But should we be scared of it? ;)

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