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Tandem Technical's new lab facility 'innovation farm' onsite at NCC's Greenbelt Research Farm. Credit:

Ottawa entrepreneurs vying for Carbon XPRIZE

By Andrew Monro on October 6, 2017

Andrew Monro is Apt613’s correspondent at Impact Hub Ottawa, writing about the many innovators that call Hub home. Hub is a co-working space at 123 Slater Street for projects with a positive local and global impact.

A team of local engineers and entrepreneurs has made it to the semi-finals of one of the world’s top prizes in climate solutions. Tandem Technical, headquartered in Ottawa, is one of just a handful of teams worldwide to advance in the $20M NRG COSIA Carbon XPRIZE, a global challenge to convert carbon dioxide into valuable products.

The Carbon XPRIZE has a mission to inspire innovators to help solve climate change. By reimagining what can be done to turn CO2 into a multitude of useful products, Tandem is taking advantage of the highly coveted XPRIZE platform to positively address the challenge of industrial greenhouse gas emissions, the leading contributor to climate change.

Local Carbon XPRIZE finalists Tandem Technical want to help industrial emitters ‘Clear the Air’. Credit:

Founder and lead engineer Jerry Flynn is excited: “The reality is, in order to solve the challenge of carbon pollution it has to not only be socially responsible for industry, but also economically viable.”

The company has engineered a process that recycles industrial CO2 and converts it into valuable by-products, including calcium carbonate, used in everyday products from toothpaste to green building materials. Tandem’s patented clean technology has the potential to transform the way carbon pollution is managed across multiple industries. Carbon recycling is estimated to become a trillion-dollar annual market as countries around the world incorporate policies to meet their Paris Climate Agreement commitments to reduce CO2.

Tandem Technical’s new lab facility ‘innovation farm’ onsite at NCC’s Greenbelt Research Farm. Credit:

From their new research lab facility located onsite at the National Capital Commission’s Greenbelt Research Farm, the company is working with industrial partners and a growing network of organizations to demonstrate they have a solution that the world can use to push back the effects of climate change.

“While breakthrough research and development is exciting, we are also focused on the business side of
commercializing and scaling our low carbon innovation to meet an exploding global market demand,” says Heather Ward, Tandem co-founder and lead marketer.

Tandem is one of only 23 teams worldwide (nine of whom are Canadian) vying for the USD $20 million prize. Ten finalists are expected to be announced in early 2018.

Ward says Ottawa is the perfect place to set up operations: “With the second highest concentration of scientists and engineers in North America next to Silicon Valley, we couldn’t ask for a better ecosystem than the capital for access to talent and a growing low carbon network.”

They are grateful to many local and international partners, including the Impact Hub Ottawa, where the founders originally met and helped spark this ‘innovation through collaboration.’ In addition, the team has been accepted into two of the leading innovation accelerators for the region: Invest Ottawa at the new Bayview Yards and the MaRS Energy & Environment accelerator in Toronto.

The company is currently signing on industrial partners to build commercial demo sites, and is raising a round of investment. Follow the team’s journey on Twitter and Facebook as they #reimagineCO2 and grind towards Round 2 judging on October 10th.