Planetary Technologies is one of 15 startups that won the $1 million XPRIZE Carbon Removal award on April 22. The company specializes in ocean-based carbon removal technology while simultaneously creating renewable fuel and restoring some damaged ocean ecosystems.
Planetary will use the $1 million award to bring its tech to a full-scale demonstration.
“We’ve developed a critical tool to restore our climate and our oceans,” said Planetary CEO Mike Kelland. “With XPRIZE’s validation of our technology, we can accelerate our development to reach our target scale of removing one gigaton of carbon every year.”
The XPRIZE Carbon Removal Challenge, established by Elon Musk and the Musk Foundation, is a four-year competition that looks for the most promising carbon sequestration solutions globally.
15 winners were selected among over 1,100 registered teams and Planetary Technology was the only company covering all four key benefits of a CO2 transition solution: CO2 removal from ambient air, the production of clean hydrogen, mine waste clean-up and the restoration of oceans.
The startup’s patented technology purifies mine waste and turns it into nontoxic antacid which is then released in the ocean. In combination with seawater, the antacid restores the pH levels of the ocean and speeds up its process of absorbing CO2 from ambient air.
As the ocean’s balance is restored, some of the climate change-related damage caused by ocean acidification is reversed. The green hydrogen, produced as a by-product, allows hard-to-abate industries to limit their use of fossil fuel.
To scale-up, Planetary will open its first plants in Quebec and the UK at the end of the year. The pilot plants will coordinate with a major ocean research project and local partners.
The startup also partners with academic institutions such as the Plymouth Marine Lab, Dalhousie University and University of Miami Basico2 project.
Before winning the XPRIZE, Planetary Technologies had received $6.2 million ($7.8 million CAD) in grants and funding, including from investors such as Innovacorp and Apollo Projects.
The startup is selling 3,000 carbon credits with retirement dates 2027-2029. Planetary’s first carbon credits customer was Shopify.