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Carlo Montemagno is seen with a foam bioreactor for carbon capture in Edmonton on Friday, Jan. 6, 2017.
Dr. Montemagno has engineered a new way to capture CO2 from industrial-gas emissions.

2017年1月6日星期五,在埃德蒙顿,Carlo Montemagno和碳捕获的泡沫生物反应器在一起。

What if carbon-dioxide emissions could be transformed from a liability into an asset?


That’s the $20-million question behind the NRG COSIA Carbon XPrize, a global competition to create technology that converts CO2 into valuable products.


“In energy and climate, few ideas are as potentially transformative as the idea of turning the economics of CO2 and climate change on its head,” said Marcius Extavour, director of technical operations for the prize.

本次奖项的技术实施负责人Marcius Extavour表示:“在能源和气候领域,没有什么点子能在变革型的潜力上和转化二氧化碳和改造气候相提并论。”

Nine Canadian companies are among the 27 teams that have advanced to the semifinals.


Ten finalists will be announced in 2018 and a winner will be revealed in 2020.


Here’s a look at some of the Canadian semifinalists.


Ingenuity Lab, Edmonton


Ingenuity Lab director Carlo Montemagno has engineered a new way to capture CO2 from industrial-gas emissions. His technology harnesses photosynthesis, the process plants use to convert carbon dioxide into chemical energy using light.

该实验室负责人Carlo Montemagno已经设计了一个新方法从工业排放的气体中进行碳捕获。他的技术是利用光合作用,通过使用光照射植物将二氧化碳转化为化学能。

The technology mimics the biochemical reactions of photosynthesis in non-living materials to generate the energy to transform the carbon dioxide into valuable products. It takes the CO2 from flue gas and builds the carbons up into long chains, with the result being that 47 different specialty chemicals can be produced.


Dr. Montemagno added that plants require a significant amount of energy to grow, so they’re not very efficient at sequestering carbon to produce value-added chemicals. But in his technology, no energy has to be spent to keep an organism alive, so all the output can go toward the products that one wants to create.


“This efficiency is game-changing, opening up new opportunities for the sustainable production of products we all need from waste,” he said in an e-mail.


Terra CO2 Technologies, Vancouver


Terra CO2 Technologies is developing a technique to transform acid rock drainage and carbon-dioxide emissions – two damaging byproducts of mining – into a stable substance.


Acid rock drainage refers to the acidic water that results when sulphide minerals are exposed to air and water and produce sulphuric acid, which is harmful to wildlife if it leaks into waterways. Mining companies must use costly methods to contain the drainage, including treating it with lime and storing it in large tailings ponds.


Terra CEO Dylan Jones said the company aims to solve the environmental threat of acid rock drainage and save mining companies money. Their technology treats the drainage through an electrochemical process that separates the sulphur from the mineral.

公司负责人Dylan Jones表示,公司的目标是解决矿山酸性排放所导致的环境威胁,并节省矿业公司的开支。它们的技术将排放物通过一个电化学装置以将硫化物从矿石中分离出来。

The company uses a common iron-sulphide mineral called pyrite or “fool’s gold” as an example. It pulls CO2 out of the air and combines with the iron to make an iron carbonate, which is stable in normal atmospheric conditions and doesn’t produce any acid.


“Our application for the technology is huge for the mining industry,” Mr. Jones said. “We’re looking at it as a cost-saving technology.”


Carbicrete, Montreal

Cement produces a great deal of greenhouse gas emissions – about one tonne of CO2 for every tonne of cement.


That’s why Carbicrete invented a way to make concrete without using cement.


Instead of using cement to bind together the concrete, the company uses steel slag, a byproduct of the steel-making process that mostly ends up in landfills. In doing so, it avoids the CO2 emissions associated with cement.


Mehrdad Mahoutian, who originally invented the technology at McGill University, added that precast concrete products are normally cured with heat and steam, but Carbicrete cures its concrete with CO2 gas, which permanently sequesters the CO2 and keeps it out of the atmosphere.

在McGill大学发明这项技术的Mahrdad Mahoutian补充道,预制的混凝土产品一般来说都是通过热源和蒸汽来加工,但是公司使用的是二氧化碳来构造混凝土,其永久性的将大气中的二氧化碳封存起来。

In effect, the product is carbon-negative concrete.


“We’re taking garbage, and we’re turning it into a valuable product and solving climate change all in one step,” CEO Chris Stern said.

负责人Chris Stern表示:”我们拿走了垃圾,一步就将他们转化成了具有价值的产物,而且同时还解决了气候变化问题。“

CarbonCure Technologies, Dartmouth, N.S.


Nova Scotia-based CarbonCure Technologies has also developed a way to use CO2 to make better concrete.


The company takes CO2 from any industrial source – a power plant or a refinery, for example – and injects it into concrete, where it is sequestered and turned into a solid. The process reduces the carbon footprint of the product by taking CO2 out of the air and turning it into a solid material, which happens to make concrete stronger, and also cuts down the concrete producer’s costs.


There is more concrete manufactured on the earth than any other material, so this technology has the potential to reduce significant quantities of CO2, vice-president of sustainability Jennifer Wagner said.

负责可持续发展的副主管Jennifer Wagner表示,在地球上,混凝土生产得比其他材料多得多,所以此项技术有潜力减少大量的二氧化碳。

“The technology makes concrete stronger, greener and less expensive to manufacture.”