LONDON--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Earlier today, Project Hajar - a collaboration between UK-based Mission Zero Technologies (MZT) and Oman-based 44.01 - was recognised among the top fifteen $1M Milestone Prize winners revealed for the XPRIZE Carbon Removal competition: the largest incentive prize in history valued at $100M funded by entrepreneur Elon Musk and the Musk Foundation.
Project Hajar connects two complementary technologies to unlock gigatons of CO2 removal in the Al Hajar mountains of the Sultanate of Oman. The project, to be fully powered by renewables, combines MZT’s proprietary electrochemical direct air capture (DAC) technology with 44.01’s permanent sequestration capabilities via mineralisation in peridotite formations. CO2 will be energy-efficiently collected from the air and then transferred to peridotite underground – a mineral widely studied for its CO2 mineralisation potential and naturally abundant in Oman’s geology. Here, the natural weathering process is enhanced by the fastest mineral carbonation rates ever demonstrated in the field to deliver verifiable and permanent carbon removal.
“In the wake of the IPCC’s latest assertion that carbon removal is now necessary to achieve our global climate goals, we are thrilled that Project Hajar has been identified by the XPRIZE as a solution with the potential to scale and make meaningful impact,” said Karan Khimji, cofounder and CCO of 44.01. “The prize money will enable us to execute our vision for Project Hajar. The hard work starts now.”
Over 1,100 teams from around the world were registered for the competition and nearly 300 eligible projects were submitted for the Milestone Prizes earlier this year. This required teams to provide technical demonstrations of their proposed solutions at any scale and project the economics and lifecycle analysis for implementing their approach at both the 1000 ton/year and Megaton scales. 68 expert reviewers were tasked with screening applications targeting approaches in four broad categories: direct air capture (DAC), ocean-based solutions, land-based solutions, and mineralisation – Project Hajar encompasses both DAC and mineralisation (DACM). Shortlisted applications were then assessed in detail by competition’s 12 expert judges who selected the 15 Milestone Prize winners.
“One year in, we already see the positive impact of the prize: hundreds of groups working on a wide range of promising carbon removal solutions. Not just ideas, but development and deployment plans, which is exactly what we need. The pace and depth of initiatives in carbon removal and other crucial climate solutions has never been greater, but we still need more—more and deeper emissions cuts, and more reliable, validated carbon removal solutions. That’s why we launched this prize in the first place,” stated Dr. Marcius Extavour, chief scientist and vice president of climate and environment at XPRIZE.
The XPRIZE Carbon Removal competition’s $80M Grand Prize pool is due to be awarded in 2025 and requires all eligible teams to have delivered 1000 tons of verified carbon removal. Accordingly, the first phase of Project Hajar expects an early-2024 commissioning date for a minimum 1000 tCO2/year carbon removal operation with dedicated renewables on-site. The decentralisation required for 44.01’s onshore peridotite mineralisation operations synergises well with MZT’s modular and heat-free DAC process in a DACM model that can scale across Oman and the wider peridotite-rich region. Project Hajar is planned to be the first commercial-scale implementation of the combined DAC and mineralisation processes involved, with pilots due to be completed in advance.
“We are incredibly excited and humbled by Project Hajar receiving this recognition from the XPRIZE team and judges. Scaling carbon removal internationally is crucial, and this is a fantastic incentive to get us going”, said Shiladitya Ghosh, cofounder and CPO of MZT. “However, we know this is only one piece of the puzzle – many approaches are needed in tandem. We’ll do our part to keep the race for the Grand Prize a tight one.”
The award of this prize is seen as a glowing endorsement of UK- and Omani-led climate innovation potential as well as a catalyst for rapidly growing both startups to deliver Project Hajar on the timescales needed. MZT and 44.01 have previously received backing from corporate thought leaders in the space such as Stripe and Shopify and will now go from strength to strength. Both companies have exciting career opportunities open and welcome conversations from equipment vendors, project partners, and collaborators to scale and proliferate their DACM approach internationally.
About Project Hajar:
Project Hajar is an integrated direct air capture and mineralisation (DACM) project by MZT and 44.01, situated in Oman. It employs MZT’s modular, heat-free, and electrochemical DAC technology together with 44.01’s accelerated mineralisation process to unlock the Gigaton-scale carbon sequestration potential within the Al Hajar mountains. Visit https://www.project-hajar.com/ to learn more.
Based in London, UK, Mission Zero Technologies is a young and exciting DAC startup with a patent-pending breakthrough technology and is on a mission to close the carbon cycle. Since its incorporation in the summer of 2020 by spinning out from Deep Science Ventures, the company has won various accolades and has featured on multiple shortlists including the 2020 Diamond List. MZT is currently developing its first pilot for launch in 2023 in Thetford, UK, in partnership with O.C.O Technology and is planning a first commercial project, Project Hajar, with 44.01. Visit https://www.missionzero.tech to learn more.
44.01 is a team of passionate and driven environmentalists, more determined and motivated than ever to make a difference in the fight against climate change. Their innovative process permanently removes CO2 turning it into rock, stopping it from being re-released into the atmosphere forever. 44.01 does this by enhancing a nature-based mineralisation process and leveraging renewable energy to absorb the captured CO2 into peridotite rock. The climate crisis requires immediate attention, and it is 44.01’s ambition to have a positive global impact on the environment, people, and society by mineralising gigaton levels of CO2 by 2040. Visit https://4401.earth to learn more.