Omani carbon elimination start-up 'honoured' to make Prince William's Earthshot shortlist

44.01 is the Middle East's first Earthshot finalist

Talal Hasan, 44.01’s founder, says his company offers a 'safe, cost-effective, permanent way of eliminating CO2 forever'. Photo: 44.01
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The team behind an Omani project to eliminate carbon dioxide in the atmosphere will find out if it has won the coveted Earthshot Prize on Friday, after being shortlisted for the environmental award this month.

44.01, named after the molecular mass of carbon dioxide, is one of three finalists in the Earthshot Prize’s Fix Our Climate category and is in the running for £1 million in funding to push their project forward.

“We’re honoured to be the Middle East’s first Earthshot finalist,” Talal Hasan, 44.01’s founder, told The National.

“Our technology can offer a safe, cost-effective, permanent way of eliminating CO2 forever. Our challenge now is to bring this to scale, both across our region and internationally.”

Carbon-capture technology enables some of the carbon dioxide emissions from fossil fuel burning or industrial processes to be captured before it reaches the atmosphere and then stored, often deep underground in aquifers.

But there are concerns carbon, if stored in this way, could leak back into the atmosphere.

The 44.10 team says its method goes beyond storing carbon by instead eliminating it through mineralising it in a type of rock called peridotite. Oman is home to the largest source of peridotite in the world, though there are other places with large stores in North and South America, Europe, Asia and Australasia.

The process happens naturally, but 44.01 have found a way to accelerate it by injecting fluid containing carbon dioxide into cavities in the rock deep underground. It hopes to have removed one billion tonnes of the planet-warming gas from the atmosphere by 2040.

The team says it has already conducted successful pilots in the Omani mountains and it hopes to make the technology commercially available by 2023.

The winners of the five Earthshot prizes will be announced on Friday at a ceremony in Boston, Massachusetts, attended by the UK's Prince and Princess of Wales. Prince William has described the awards as his “Super Bowl moment of the year”.

The event will be a star-studded affair, with singer Billie Eilish performing and actor Rami Malek helping to hand out the awards. Sir David Attenborough will also make a speech.

“The 15 finalists of this year's Earthshot Prize are deeply inspiring,” Malek said. “They are dedicating their lives to building solutions that will repair our planet.”

The initiative, which has a total prize fund of £50 million, was launched in 2021 and will continue every year until 2030, with people from around the world presenting ambitious projects to fix the globe's biggest environmental problems.

Updated: November 30, 2022, 11:31 AM
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