Turning CO2 into ROCK!
Turning CO2 into ROCK!

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$1M XPRIZE Milestone Award

Project Hajar, a collaboration between Mission Zero Technologies and 44.01

London, UK – Earlier today, Project Hajar – a collaboration between Mission Zero Technologies (MZT) and 44.01 – was recognised among the top fifteen $1M Milestone Prize winners revealed for the XPRIZE Carbon Removal competition: the largest incentive prize in history valued at $100M funded by entrepreneur Elon Musk and the Musk Foundation.

Project Hajar connects two complementary technologies to unlock gigatons of CO2 removal in the Al Hajar mountains of the Sultanate of Oman. The project, to be fully powered by renewables, combines MZT’s proprietary electrochemical direct air capture (DAC) technology with 44.01’s permanent sequestration capabilities via mineralisation in peridotite formations. CO2 will be energy-efficiently collected from the air and then transferred to peridotite underground – a mineral widely studied for its CO2 mineralisation potential and naturally abundant in Oman’s geology. Here, the natural weathering process is enhanced by the fastest mineral carbonation rates ever demonstrated in the field to deliver verifiable and permanent carbon removal.

“In the wake of the IPCC’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 the XPRIZE as a solution with the potential to scale and make meaningful impact,” said Karan Khimji, cofounder and CCO of 44.01. “The prize money will enable us to execute our vision for Project Hajar. The hard work starts now.”

Over 1,100 teams from around the world were registered for the competition and nearly 300 eligible projects were submitted for the Milestone Prizes earlier this year. This required teams to provide technical demonstrations of their proposed solutions at any scale and project the economics and lifecycle analysis for implementing their approach at both the 1000 ton/year and Megaton scales. 68 expert reviewers were tasked with screening applications targeting approaches in four broad categories: direct air capture (DAC), ocean-based solutions, land-based solutions, and mineralisation – Project Hajar encompasses both DAC and mineralisation (DACM). Shortlisted applications were then assessed in detail by competition’s 12 expert judges who selected the 15 Milestone Prize winners.

“One year in, we already see the positive impact of the prize: hundreds of groups working on a wide range of promising carbon removal solutions. Not just ideas, but development and deployment plans, which is exactly what we need. The pace and depth of initiatives in carbon removal and other crucial climate solutions has never been greater, but we still need more—more and deeper emissions cuts, and more reliable, validated carbon removal solutions. That’s why we launched this prize in the first place,” stated Dr. Marcius Extavour, chief scientist and vice president of climate and environment at XPRIZE.

The XPRIZE Carbon Removal competition’s $80M Grand Prize pool is due to be awarded in 2025 and requires all eligible teams to have delivered 1000 tons of verified carbon removal. Accordingly, the first phase of Project Hajar expects an early-2024 commissioning date for a minimum 1000 tCO2/year carbon removal operation with dedicated renewables on-site. The decentralisation required for 44.01’s onshore peridotite mineralisation operations synergises well with MZT’s modular and heat-free DAC process in a DACM model that can scale across Oman and the wider peridotite-rich region. Project Hajar is planned to be the first commercial-scale implementation of the combined DAC and mineralisation processes involved, with pilots due to be completed in advance.

“We are incredibly excited and humbled by Project Hajar receiving this recognition from the XPRIZE team and judges. Scaling carbon removal internationally is crucial, and this is a fantastic incentive to get us going”, said Shiladitya Ghosh, cofounder and CPO of MZT. “However, we know this is only one piece of the puzzle – many approaches are needed in tandem. We’ll do our part to keep the race for the Grand Prize a tight one.”

The award of this prize is seen as a glowing endorsement of UK- and Omani-led climate innovation potential as well as a catalyst for rapidly growing both startups to deliver Project Hajar on the timescales needed. MZT and 44.01 have previously received backing from corporate thought leaders in the space such as Stripe and Shopify and will now go from strength to strength. Both companies have exciting career opportunities open and welcome conversations from equipment vendors, project partners, and collaborators to scale and proliferate their DACM approach internationally.

About Project Hajar:

Project Hajar is an integrated direct air capture and mineralisation (DACM) project by MZT and 44.01, situated in Oman. It employs MZT’s modular, heat-free, and electrochemical DAC technology together with 44.01’s accelerated mineralisation process to unlock the Gigaton-scale carbon sequestration potential within the Al Hajar mountains. Visit https://www.project-hajar.com/ to learn more.

About MZT:

Based in London, UK, Mission Zero Technologies is a young and exciting DAC startup with a patent-pending breakthrough technology and is on a mission to close the carbon cycle. Since its incorporation in the summer of 2020 by spinning out from Deep Science Ventures, the company has won various accolades and has featured on multiple shortlists including the 2020 Diamond List. MZT is currently developing its first pilot for launch in 2023 in Thetford, UK, in partnership with O.C.O Technology and is planning a first commercial project, Project Hajar, with 44.01. Visit https://www.missionzero.tech to learn more.

Shopify accelerates planet saving technology

Shopify is making a commitment to safely turn tonnes of CO₂ into ROCK!

As one of the world’s largest corporate purchasers of long-term carbon removal the company’s Sustainability Fund contributes $5 million annually to support tech-driven entrepreneurs. The goal of the Fund is to assist companies that are proving, scaling, and commercializing climate technologies for massive impact in the long term.

Shopify is demonstrating its confidence in 44.01’s potential with a new purchase commitment. This partnership is underpinned by 44.01 and Shopify’s shared mission to fight climate change.

“We’re very excited to be working with Shopify on this advance purchase of our mineralisation services,” said Talal Hasan, 44.01’s Carbon General. “The company’s trust in our process to mineralise captured CO₂ into peridotite rocks will help us scale our technology and attract direct air capture technologies to our carbon sinks.”

IPCC models project that achieving net-zero emissions by 2050 requires both radical emissions reductions and the permanent removal of gigatons of CO₂ from the atmosphere every year. However, the infrastructure required to deliver carbon removal must scale up at high speed. Only then will new climate technologies be able to remove the volumes of CO₂ required to mitigate climate change.

“Many new companies are focused on capturing CO₂, yet some of these companies struggle to identify how it will be stored, which is a critical component of carbon removal,” said Stacy Kauk, Shopify’s Head of Sustainability. “44.01 offers a novel, yet reliable process that stores CO₂ for the long term. That’s why we’re thrilled to be supporting 44.01 as they work to provide storage infrastructure that is desperately needed around the globe.”

Follow Shopify’s lead and get in touch if you or your company want to support solutions fighting climate change.

Photo of a polar bear in a melting habitat

A nomination for Earthshot to fix our climate!

44.01 is one of a select group of organisations nominated for the prestigious Earthshot prize. Launched by Prince William, Duke of Cambridge, and The Royal Foundation in 2020, the Earthshot Prize is the most prestigious global environment prize in history. Increasing temperatures are disrupting the balance of our entire natural world. This is the decade humanity must overcome its greatest threat and protect the planet from climate change.

44.01 has been nominated by PDIE Group in the 2022’ Fix Our Climate’ category for their solution which takes CO2 removed from the atmosphere and turns it into rock. PDIE Group is building a global ecosystem for game changers who are co-creating a better tomorrow. They are one of the top Earthshot Prize nominators.

The prize aims to maximise impact and take planetary solutions to scale. It is designed to incentivise change and help repair our planet over the next ten years. The prize has five categories in which finalists will be chosen: Protect and Restore Nature, Clean Our Air, Revive Our Oceans, Build a Waste-Free World, and Fix Our Climate.

“Our planet’s health has degraded and we now need to focus on leveraging technology to help repair it, our very survival depends on it. To be nominated among so many great companies working to turn the clock back on emissions is an honour, we’ll keep doing everything we can to make an impact. There’s no silver bullet when it comes to fighting climate change but if we have enough of us committed to change anything is possible.”  – Talal Hasan

Each Earthshot is underpinned by scientifically agreed targets including the UN Sustainable Development Goals and other internationally recognised measures to help repair our planet. Each year for the next ten years, £1 million will be awarded to each category winner.

Engineering team outside a blue ammonia plant

Producing Oman’s first blue ammonia

In a first for Oman, 44.01 (a local technology start-up) has carried out a pilot project to produce Blue Ammonia. This project was made possible by 44.01’s CO2 mineralisation process, which turns captured CO2 into rock, making this the world’s first Blue Ammonia using mineralisation.

Blue chemicals such as Blue Ammonia and Blue Hydrogen are made by removing surplus CO2 emissions which have been captured during the manufacturing process. 44.01 carried out a pilot project where they took captured CO2 from an ammonia plant and turned that captured CO2 into rock using their mineralisation technology.

This is a potential solution which can help the nation’s energy and industrial sectors to decarbonise, in line with the Sultanate of Oman’s commitments to decarbonisation under the Paris Agreement.  

The world’s first shipment of blue ammonia was dispatched by Saudi Aramco from Saudi Arabia to Japan on Sep. 27, 2020 for use in a power station for the production of zero-carbon power. More recently in May 24, 2021, ADNOC in the UAE have announced the development of a world-scale blue ammonia production facility at the TA’ZIZ Industrial Chemicals Zone in Ruwais.

“What’s exciting is that Ammonia is just one product we can turn Blue. We can replicate this for any other chemical which has CO2 emissions and can help multiple industries decarbonise their products with our technology”. 

“We are so excited to have produced Oman’s first Blue Ammonia and the world’s first Blue Ammonia using mineralisation. Although this was just a demonstration with small quantities, this is something we can scale up to give industries in Oman an edge over their competitors globally.”

“As part of this pilot we made around 500kgs of Blue Ammonia. We will be looking to ramp this up as we scale our technology”.

Oman mountains peridotite in Muscat

Important step in the race to fight climate change

Climeworks and 44.01 unlock the storage potential of peridotite in Oman. Exploring new storage locations for CO2.

Large-scale carbon dioxide removal will be needed to restore a healthy balance of CO2 in the atmosphere. Climeworks’ direct air capture technology offers a solution to achieve it. The Swiss company Climeworks and 44.01 join forces to unlock the potential of geological storage of air-captured CO2 in the Middle East in a first-of-its-kind test project. The two companies will jointly test the conditions in Oman and explore the potential to combine direct air capture with mineralization in peridotite in the region.

To keep global warming to safe levels, science agrees that is not enough to only reduce emissions – we have to remove CO2 from the atmosphere that has already been emitted. Climeworks’ direct air capture technology allows to capture unavoidable as well as historic CO₂ emissions directly from the air. Combined with a safe and permanent storage solution, the CO2 is removed from the air for good. The modular technology can be stacked to build machines of any size and is solely powered by renewable energy. After building and operating 15 plants all over Europe, Climeworks’ technology will now be tested under the geological and weather conditions in the Middle East. This is an important step to unlock the global potential for direct air capture and storage solutions urgently needed to fight climate change.

Geological storage of CO2 in Peridotite

Oman has the perfect conditions to store CO2 through the natural process of mineralization in Peridotite. Carbon mineralization occurs naturally in alkaline environments: atmospheric CO2 reacts with peridotite rocks which are rich in magnesium and calcium, to precipitate carbonates. Oman bears the potential to store  trillions of tons of CO2 permanently and safely in Peridotite formations. Thereby, the CO2 is permanently removed in natural geological carbon sinks and cannot escape back into the atmosphere. 44.01 powers its process with solar energy and biofuel produced by local circular economies.

“We are excited to explore the potential to store CO2 from Climeworks’ direct air capture in the Oman together with 44.01. The geological conditions as well as the high availability of renewable energy make this a perfect location for testing prior to expanding our technology portfolio.” – Jan Wurzbacher, CO CEO and co-founder of Climeworks

 “We are delighted to be collaborating with Climeworks on such and important project. Climeworks is a pioneer in the field of direct air capture and brings in a lot of expertise. The launch of our Direct Air Capture plant is a major step forward for the region which has some of the highest CO2 emissions per capita in the world.” – Talal Hasan, Founder and CEO of 44.01

More about geological storage of CO2

To enable direct air capture and storage technologies to fulfill their foreseen role in climate change mitigation, storage solutions have to be scalable to billions of tons of CO₂ per year. Geological storage of CO₂ combines the scalability and technical maturity on the one hand with safety and permanence on the other. Scientific estimates show that the global potential for geological storage of CO₂ outweighs all greenhouse gases ever emitted since the Industrial Revolution. Geological mineralisation in suitable rock formations is seen as the safest, most scalable and permanent approach of CO₂ storage as it is a natural process that is able to store CO₂. One location in which these suitable rock formations occur is Oman. This is why Climeworks and 44.01 are jointly testing the combination of Climeworks’ direct air capture technology in combinations with geological storage of CO2 in Oman.

Leadership team in Oman's mountains

Bringing DAC and an emissions solution

44.01, an Omani start-up focused on negative emissions, formed in the height of the Covid-19 pandemic, has announced their plans to build a new Direct Air Capture (DAC) Plant in Oman, solely powered by renewable energy.

The construction of the new plant, based in Khazaen Economic City in Barka, Oman, has commenced and is expected to be up and running by the end of this year. Using the latest DAC technology, the plant will pull CO2 directly from the air, reducing the amount of CO2 in the atmosphere. 

The captured CO2 can then be used for various other processes such as food & beverages, and the chemicals industry. 

Talal Hasan, 44.01 Co-Founder and CEO said “The launch of our Direct Air Capture plant is a major step forward for the region and we are delighted to be announcing our plans today for such an exciting new project”.

44.01 was started by a team of passionate environmentalists who all share a common goal, to fight climate change.

Talal continued, “The GCC countries have some of the highest CO2 emissions per capita in the world. Capturing some of these emissions is an essential step towards reducing harmful greenhouse gasses and achieving carbon neutrality”.

With only a handful of Direct Air Capture plants in operation worldwide, this is a very interesting time for the future of the GCC and its commitment to healing the planet.  44.01 has global ambitions and is already in discussions to launch operations in the UAE.  

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