Omani start-up 44.01 hopes to take its carbon-capture technology global after being declared winner of the 2022 Earthshot Award in the Fix Our Climate category.
Unlike carbon storage, which involves burying carbon dioxide underground in disused oil-wells or aquifers, 44.01 has developed a “mineralisation” process that removes the greenhouse gas from the atmosphere by converting it into rock.
“We are delighted to have been recognised by the Earthshot Prize,” said Talal Hasan, 44.01’s founder and chief executive, after Britain’s Prince William announced the 2022 winners in Boston on Friday.
“Mineralisation can offer a safe, cost-effective way of eliminating CO2 forever. Our challenge is to scale our solution internationally, and the Earthshot Prize will help us to do just that.”
The second annual Earthshot Prize offered £1 million ($1.2 million) in prize money to each of the winners in five categories: nature protection, clean air, ocean revival, waste elimination and climate change.
The winners and all 15 finalists will receive aid in expanding their projects to meet global demand.
Mr Hasan’s company, named after the molecular mass of CO2, says it has already conducted successful pilots of its carbon capture process in Oman and plans to begin offering the technology commercially next year.
The company eliminates CO2 by mineralising it in peridotite, a rock found in abundance in Oman as well as in North and South America, Europe, Asia and Australasia. Peridotite mineralisation is a natural process, which 44.01 says it is able to accelerate by injecting carbonated fluid into seams of peridotite deep underground.
It aims to mineralise one billion tonnes of CO2 by 2040.
According to a report by the Global Carbon Project released last month, global CO2 emissions are projected to reach 40.6 billion tonnes this year.