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Two semifinalists in carbon XPRIZE competition announce partnership

Two of the semifinalists of an XPRIZE competition focused on creating new solutions for converting CO2 from a liability into an asset have joined forces.

Canada-based CO2 Solutions Inc. and Minneapolis-based TerraCOH Inc. announced Dec. 1 that they are partnering in the NRG COSIA Carbon XPRIZE competition, according to a press release.

The two companies are competing for 10 finalist spots divided into two tracks — technologies for use at coal or natural gas power plants.

The XPRIZE Foundation, which funds competitions to spur innovation in categories such as artificial intelligence and moon landing, will sponsor the five finalists for the coal-focused part of the contest at the Wyoming Integrated Test Center, a facility attached to the Dry Fork Station coal-fired power plant near Gillette, Wyo., owned by Basin Electric Power Cooperative and Wyoming Municipal Power Agency. The test center is essentially a "fancy RV park" for carbon capture projects.

The facility is also looking for other tenants besides the XPRIZE finalists to use the flue gas emitted by the plant.

In the partnership, CO2 Solutions will focus on the carbon capture technology end of the equation while TerraCOH will use the carbon for its Earth Battery, the first technology to use CO2 as a geologic working fluid for geologic energy storage. The battery will deliver a "high efficiency, affordable, small to grid-scale energy storage platform" using CO2, the press release said.

"TerraCOH looks forward to working with CO2 Solutions in the second round of the Carbon XPRIZE competition; jointly creating a solution that is capable of uniquely consuming vast quantities of CO2 while storing the CO2 safely and securely below ground. Later, the Earth Battery can deliver power that can be dispatched on demand to serve various power requirements," John Griffin, CEO of TerraCOH, said in a release.

CO2 Solutions will focus on an enzyme-enabled technology that will capture the carbon needed by TerraCOH, the release said.

The two entities would share any prize money that might be awarded should the joint entry proceed to the next level of the competition. Up to five teams in each track of the competition will share a $2.5 million prize should they reach the final round.

Judging for the final round is underway.