Homegrown Calgary cleantech startup reaches finals of prestigious $20M technology prize


Carbon Upcycling Technologies flips the script on CO2 emissions and generates revenue in the process

April 9, 2018

Calgary, AB: Carbon Upcycling Technologies (CUT), a Calgary-based cleantech company, is pleased to announce it has been named one of 10 finalists in the prestigious NRG COSIA Carbon XPRIZE competition. The Carbon XPRIZE is a 20 million dollar global competition designed to develop breakthrough technologies that profitably convert harmful CO2 emissions into high-value, everyday products like building materials and alternative fuels. CUT is one of four Canadian teams left in the competition.

“Making the finals is a huge accomplishment, and validates that our technology turns carbon into a valuable material that can benefit business,” says Apoorv Sinha, CUT’s president. “This win gives us the momentum to rapidly scale up production of our product.”

CUT’s proprietary process combines waste CO2 gas with solid feedstock to produce stable nanoparticles that can be used to strengthen materials like plastic and concrete. To reach the finals, CUT had to prove to a third party that they could capture 20 kg of CO2 per day, improving their results 100 times over their first-round XPRIZE submission in 2016. They have been awarded $500,000 USD for their efforts.

“We’re thrilled to see an Alberta startup succeed at the global level” says Premier of Alberta, Rachel Notley. “Carbon is an issue that requires strong ecosystem collaboration from both industry and government, and their achievements show that Alberta is well positioned to both address the energy challenges of today and create the materials we need for our sustainable future.

CUT’s business model shows a marked shift in how both government and industry can handle carbon in response to the increasing threat of climate change. Carbon has long been demonized as a substance that needs to be neutralized and stored, and is now at the centre of a heated debate on carbon tax. Sinha and his team have gone on the offensive to utilize and actually profit from waste carbon. CUT has successfully commercialized their product and were the youngest carbon utilization company to do so in 2017 with the sale of their AlphaCarbon AC-100 concrete coating.

“CUT demonstrates that we can create real solutions to the world’s carbon challenge through strong collaboration between innovators, industry and government.” Says Steve MacDonald, CEO of Emissions Reduction Alberta. CUT got its start when the company was selected from 344 submissions for the first round of the ERA Grand Challenge, funding that enabled the company’s initial prototype development in 2014.

Industry response will determine CUT’s chances at a coveted winning spot in the next round. Companies will be judged again on daily volume of CO2 capture, but also on the profitability of their product.

On CUT’s potential to take home the grand prize in 2020, Sinha said, “Our product is one of the few that has broad applications across industries – we have products for drug delivery, solar photovoltaics and epoxies in the pipeline. It’s a matter of determining which will have the most substantial impact on both emissions reduction and our customer’s bottom line.”

About CUT

CUT is transforming waste carbon into the resource of the future. CUT utilizes CO2 emissions to cultivate nanoparticles that enhance everyday materials like concrete, plastics, and batteries. The CUT team prides itself on delivering products that make the building blocks of modern life longer lasting and more effective. For more information, visit www.cutco2.com.


XPRIZE, a 501(c)(3) nonprofit, is the global leader in designing and implementing innovative competition models to solve the world’s grandest challenges. XPRIZE utilizes a unique combination of gamification, crowd-sourcing, incentive prize theory and exponential technologies as a formula to make 10x (vs. 10%) impact in the grand challenge domains facing our world. XPRIZE’s philosophy is that—under the right circumstances—igniting rapid experimentation from a variety of diverse lenses is the most efficient and effective method to driving exponential impact and solutions to grand challenges. Active competitions include the Lunar XPRIZE, $20M NRG COSIA Carbon XPRIZE, the $15M Global Learning XPRIZE, the $10M ANA Avatar XPRIZE, the $7M Shell Ocean Discovery XPRIZE, the $7M Barbara Bush Foundation Adult Literacy XPRIZE, the $5M IBM Watson AI XPRIZE, the $1.75M Water Abundance XPRIZE and the $1M Anu and Naveen Jain Women’s Safety XPRIZE. For more information, visit www.xprize.org.

About NRG

NRG is the leading integrated power company in the U.S., built on the strength of our diverse competitive electric generation portfolio and leading retail electricity platform. A Fortune 500 company, NRG creates value through best in class operations, reliable and efficient electric generation, and a retail platform serving residential and commercial businesses. Working with electricity customers, large and small, we implement sustainable solutions for producing and managing energy, developing smarter energy choices and delivering exceptional service as our retail electricity providers serve almost three million residential and commercial customers throughout the country. More information is available at www.nrg.com. Connect with NRG Energy on Facebook and follow us on Twitter @nrgenergy.


Canada’s Oil Sands Innovation Alliance (COSIA) is a unique alliance of oil sands producers focused on accelerating environmental performance in Canada’s oil sands. COSIA enables collaboration and innovation between big thinkers from industry, government, academia and the wider public to improve measurement, accountability and performance in the oil sands across our environmental priority areas of greenhouse gases, land, water and tailings. COSIA members search the world for solutions to our toughest problems. And we have some of the best minds on the planet working on technologies to enable responsible and sustainable development. To date, COSIA has shared 981 distinct environmental technologies and innovations that cost over $1.4 billion to develop. Visit us at www.cosia.ca.

#cleantech #XPrize #cosia #NRG

Work with Us



Waste of Today, Building Tomorrow

Connect with Us


©2020 by Carbon Upcycling Technologies