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April 19, 2022 | Tom Ballard

BREAKING NEWS: SkyNano Technologies one of 60 finalists in Elon Musk’s 100M XPRIZE Carbon Removal

SkyNano Technologies, a Knoxville start-up and developer of a manufacturing technique for the capture and conversion of CO2 from various sources into valuable carbon-based materials, has been named a top 60 finalist for the “Milestone Awards” in the largest incentive prize in history, Elon Musk’s 100M XPRIZE Carbon Removal.

Yes, that’s right. The $100M XPRIZE, which is focused on developing carbon removal technologies at scale, recently conducted Phase 1 and 2 for the “Milestone Awards” with a record setting 1,133 submissions. SkyNano is the only Tennessee applicant still remaining in the competition. The next phase of the competition occurs this Friday – Earth Day – when XPRIZE will announce 15 winners of $1 million “Milestone Awards,” a recognition going to the most promising carbon removal concepts that will help Earth restore its carbon balance.

In order to compete, SkyNano was required to demonstrate a working carbon removal solution, estimate costs at scale, and develop a plan for scaling and deploying their technology at a megatin and gigaton per year capacity. Potential scaling of SkyNano’s technology had to be equivalent to that needed to move the needle on climate change.

Just prior to its submission in February, SkyNano announced the first ever capture of flue gas from Tennessee Valley Authority’s (TVA) John Sevier combined cycle power plant and production of carbon nanotubes from flue gas emissions. Manufacturers normally synthesize nanotubes from hydrocarbons in an emissions-heavy process, so producing them through the transformation and utilization of carbon dioxide from power generation is a major technological breakthrough that opens the door to uses of power plant emissions that can help decarbonize the grid.

Co-Founder Anna Douglas was a participant in the inaugural cohort of the “Innovation Crossroads” program operated by Oak Ridge National Laboratory and an inaugural member of the “Spark Innovation Center” at the University of Tennessee Research Park.

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