Project Hajar struck a major milestone by being selected as one of the 15 winners of the $100 million XPRIZE Carbon Removal competition. The initiative will be awarded $1 million to support its continuing work of realizing gigaton scale CO2 removal.
“In the wake of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change’s latest assertion that carbon removal is now necessary to achieve our global climate goals, we are thrilled that Project Hajar has been identified by XPRIZE as a solution with the potential to scale and make meaningful impact,” said Karan Khimji, co-founder of 44.01.
Mission Zero is a startup founded in June 2020 as a spin-out from Deep Science Ventures. It is developing direct air capture (DAC) technology that according to the company, captures high-purity CO2 from the air for a fraction of the costs and energy it takes to do so with other available technologies on the market.
That is the main value proposition of the technology that would unlock carbon removal at scale. The company signed a Memorandum of Understanding with 44.01 in 2022 to collaborate on a minimum of 1000 ton/year initiative combining the two companies’ complementary technologies.
Mission Zero is also on the lookout for CO2 users and sequestration partners with access to appropriate infrastructure for joint projects.
44.01 was founded in 2020 and offers a permanent CO2 storage solution using the natural power of carbon mineralization.
The startup has enhanced a natural weathering process that according to the company, offers the fastest mineral carbonation rates ever demonstrated in this field for the delivery of verifiable and permanent carbon dioxide removal.
The whole process involves collecting CO2 from thre air using Mission Zero technology and then transferring it to peridotite underground where it is being sequestered permanently. Peridotite is a mineral widely studied for its CO2 mineralization potential and naturally abundant in Oman’s geology. The model could scale across areas like Oman rich in peridotite.
The first phase of Project Hajar is entering commissioning in early 2024 to achieve a minimum of 1000 tons of CO2 per year carbon removal operation with dedicated renewables on-site.
The project will aim to take part in the XPRIZE Carbon Removal competition’s $80 million Grand Prize pool that is due to be awarded in 2025. Under the requirement, teams would have to demonstrate delivered 1000 tons of carbon removal.
Project Hajar combines two complementary technologies to unlock gigatonnes of CO2 removal. It is planned to be the first commercial-scale implementation of the combined direct air capture and mineralization with pilots due to be completed in the next few years.
The XPRIZE recognition is a glowing endorsement of UK- and Omani-led climate innovation potential as well as a catalyst for the rapidly growing startups to deliver Project Hajar on the timescales needed.