© Carbyon

Carbyon is in the process of developing equipment to filter CO2 from the air and store it underground. Today – on Earth Day – the Eindhoven start-up was named the Milestone Award winner of the XPRIZE Carbon Removal. This incentive prize worth US$1 million, which is funded by Elon Musk and the Musk Foundation, is part of the four-year global XPRIZE competition. The organization invited global innovators and teams to come up with a solution that can remove CO2 directly from the atmosphere or oceans and store it in an environmentally friendly way for good, Carbyon writes in a press release.

“For us, winning this award means that we are recognized. XPRIZE is, so to speak, the world championship within our field. The fact that the jury ranks our concept among the fifteen best in the world means a great deal to us. It is fantastic that three years after the start of our company we are already participating at this level.” Hans de Neve, CEO at Carbyon.

Bolstered in ambition

The goal of XPRIZE is to encourage and help scale up efficient climate innovations to reach the target of 10 gigatonnes per year of carbon removal collectively by 2050. The ambition is to combat climate change this way and restore the Earth’s carbon balance. The solutions that were submitted were scientifically evaluated based on several criteria, including the amount of CO2 removed, life cycle analysis of the removal process, energy efficiency, the carbon footprint and storage capacity.

De Neve endorses the goal of XPRIZE: “Winning the prize reinforces our conviction and ambition. We believe that carbon removal can play a significant role in counteracting global warming. Our greatest wish is to find solutions to the climate crisis. It would be great if our solution is the solution, but we would prefer that a solution is found in the first place. I hope that by winning this Milestone Award we inspire other start-ups and innovators to apply for the next round of the competition in 2024. The more people working on a solution, the better.”

Scientific evaluation

In order to win the competition, the teams which included Carbyon, had to show a validated accurate scale model of their solution and describe how this model could be scaled up to 1 billion tonnes per year.

“We have demonstrated the functionality of the most important component of our Direct Air Capture (DAC) solution, thereby confirming that we are well-positioned to successfully complete the next step of 1,000 tonnes per year by 2024. This demo has been verified by an independent third party, providing proof that the performance claims of the demonstrated technology are valid in practice.” So says Hans de Neve.

The XPRIZE jury said about Carbyon’s winning entry, among other things:
“The innovation of clusters of smaller DAC units using membranes with fast absorption/desorption cycles could be transformative for the Carbon Dioxide Removal field. This technology is very well-explained, and the demonstration data show promise for accomplishing performance at scale.”

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