White Dog Labs advances in $20 million Carbon Xprize contest

By Sue Retka Schill | October 24, 2016

New technology developer White Dog Labs has been selected as a semifinalist in the $20 million Carbon Xprize, announced shortly after its peer-reviewed research paper was published in the journal Nature Communications.

The research paper, “CO2 fixation by anaerobic non-photosynthetic mixotrophy for improved carbon conversion,” was published online at nature.com.  “We are very proud to have our work in this prestigious peer review journal,” said Sass Somekh, executive chairman of White Dog Labs.

White Dog Labs is developing a MixoFerm process using a clostridia microorganism capable of consuming C5 and C6 sugars, along with the subsequent carbon dioxide produced, to make ethanol or, if genetically modified, other chemicals. The process increases the mass yield from a sugar fermentation by 50 percent or better. The peer-reviewed paper focuses on the technology’s application to acetone production, utilizing a modified organism that achieved 138 percent of the theoretical conventional fermentation yield.

The Carbon Xprize is a global competition among teams developing innovative carbon capture technology to convert carbon dioxide emissions into products with the highest net value. End products proposed by the entrants are varied, including biofuels, chemicals, enhanced concrete, toothpaste, nanotubes, fish food, fertilizer, and more.

White Dog Labs is listed among 27 semi-finalist teams hailing from the U.S., Canada, China, India, Switzerland and Scotland. Other U.S. teams focused on fuels and chemicals include EE-AGG, producing methanol; Innovator Energy, syngas and acetic acid; Low-Energy-Consumption CO2 Capture and Conversion, fuels and chemicals; Opus 12, plastics, fertilizers, gasoline; CAT.ALY.ST, biofuels; Dimensional Energy, hydrocarbon fuels; Hago Energetics, gas and liquid fuels.  

Semi-finalists will demonstrate their technology at pilot scale at a location of their own choosing, using either simulated flue gas or real flue gas from coal or natural gas facilities. Over the course of a 10-month period, teams must meet minimum requirements and will be scored on how much CO2 they convert and the resulting net value of their products. Following Round 2 judging scheduled for November and December 2017, up to 10 teams that score the highest will share a $2.5 million milestone purse and move on to the finals of the competition. In the final round, teams will demonstrate their technology under real-world conditions at a larger scale to compete for the $20 million NRG Cosia Carbon Xprize.

For the Ethanol Producer Magazine profile of White Dog Labs, the technology and its potential for the ethanol industry along with other applications, click here.