Ontario to support local teams competing for the Carbon XPRIZE

TORONTO, June 21, 2016 /CNW/ - Ontario is taking a major step in the fight against climate change by making up to $2.5 million available to Ontario-based teams competing in the NRG COSIA Carbon XPRIZE, a global challenge to address climate change by incentivizing innovators to convert carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions from power plants and industrial facilities into valuable every day products.

As part of Ontario Centres of Excellence's (OCE's) $74 million TargetGHG cleantech innovation initiative, funding will be made available to Ontario teams for the development and demonstration of their concepts through the three stages of the Carbon XPRIZE competition, which began in September 2015 and ends in March 2020. To qualify, teams must be registered by July 15. The exact amount of OCE funding per team will depend on how many Ontario teams advance and how far they get in the competition. The OCE funding also requires matching contributions secured by teams themselves.

"We know that there is some inspired thinking in Ontario when it comes to the business opportunities fighting climate change and cutting greenhouse gas emissions present," said Dr. Tom Corr, President and CEO of OCE. "Our support for the Ontario competitors will not only help them win the Carbon XPRIZE, it means that their concepts will get vital infusions of capital at the most important phases of development and testing. In the long run, we will be supporting the development of technologies and products that will help in the fight against climate change while boosting Ontario's economic prosperity through the creation of high quality jobs."

OCE has a longstanding history in cleantech, having supported many hundreds of cleantech-related companies. Over the past two years, OCE has supported 243 clean-tech related projects leading to the creation and retention of close to 900 jobs.

The NRG COSIA Carbon XPRIZE will incentivize development of new and emerging CO2 conversion technologies, accelerating these breakthroughs from laboratory testing to demonstration under real- world conditions. The prize will help identify the most promising pathways for CO2 conversion and prove the technologies can be deployed at power plants and other industrial facilities. There are two tracks to the competition: one focused on testing technologies at a coal power plant and one focused on testing technologies at a natural gas power plant. One winner from each track will receive a top prize of $7.5 million (USD).

"With the deadline for team submissions fast-approaching, we hope OCE's commitment encourages Ontario-based teams to compete," said Paul Bunje, principal and senior scientist of Energy & Environment at XPRIZE. "These competitors are aiming to make history with breakthrough technologies. We know the world will see powerful new market-based solutions to climate change because of OCE's support of new cleantech innovations."

In February, Premier Kathleen Wynne announced that, as part of the $325-million Green Investment Fund, OCE will manage the TargetGHG greenhouse gas innovation initiative to encourage large industrial plants to adopt leading edge technologies that cut greenhouse gases through demonstration projects while supporting Ontario entrepreneurs and researchers in the development of creative new cleantech solutions.

"Reducing carbon emissions is central to our government's commitment to address climate change in Ontario as our innovators provide solutions for some of the world's most pressing environmental challenges," said Reza Moridi, Minister of Research, Innovation and Science. "Supporting innovative Ontario teams in this internationally renowned competition will help scientists, industry leaders and entrepreneurs develop and deploy important new solutions that will position Ontario as a market leader in the development of innovative, clean technologies."

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About Ontario Centres of Excellence (OCE) Inc. (www.oce-ontario.org)

Ontario Centres of Excellence (OCE) drives the commercialization of cutting-edge research to build the economy of tomorrow and secure Ontario's global competitiveness. OCE fosters the training and development of the next generation of innovators and entrepreneurs and is a key partner with Ontario's industry, universities, colleges, research hospitals, domestic and foreign investors, and government ministries. A champion of leading-edge technologies, best practices, innovation, entrepreneurship and research, OCE invests in such areas as advanced health, information and communications technology, digital media, advanced materials and manufacturing, agri-food, aerospace, transportation, energy, and the environment including water and mining. OCE is a key partner in delivering Ontario's Innovation Agenda as a member of the province's Ontario Network of Entrepreneurs (ONE), which helps Ontario-based entrepreneurs and industry rapidly grow their company and create jobs. Learn more at www.onebusiness.ca

About the NRG COSIA Carbon XPRIZE

Founded in 1995, XPRIZE is the leading organization solving the world's Grand Challenges by creating and managing large-scale, high-profile, incentivized prizes in five areas: Learning; Exploration; Energy & Environment; Global Development; and Life Sciences. The $20M NRG COSIA Carbon XPRIZE, launched in September 2015, is a global competition to address climate change by converting CO2 emissions from power plants and industrial facilities. Innovators from around the world will compete to develop breakthrough technologies that will convert CO2 emissions into valuable products like building materials, alternative fuels, and other items that we use every day. For more information, visit www.carbon.xprize.org. Other active prizes include the $30M Google Lunar XPRIZE, the $15M Global Learning XPRIZE, the $10M Qualcomm Tricorder XPRIZE, the $7M Shell Ocean Discovery XPRIZE, the $7M Barbara Bush Foundation Adult Literacy XPRIZE and the $5M IBM Watson A.I. XPRIZE. For more information, visit www.xprize.org.

SOURCE Ontario Centres of Excellence Inc.

For further information: Stuart Green, Manager Media Relations, Ontario Centres of Excellence, stuart.green@oce-ontario.org; Jackie Wei, Senior Manager Public Relations, XPRIZE Foundation, Jackie.wei@xprize.org

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http://www.oce-ontario.org/

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