Gift from Anthony and Jeanne Pritzker Family Foundation will support researchers working to convert carbon dioxide into building material
UCLA has received a generous $1.5 million gift from the Anthony and Jeanne Pritzker Family Foundation to support faculty members competing for the NRG COSIA Carbon XPRIZE. The funds will support the team’s efforts to develop a process for capturing carbon dioxide and converting it into a material that can be used in building and construction.
The team is led by Gaurav Sant, professor of civil and environmental engineering and of materials science. Among other team members are J.R. DeShazo, professor of public policy and director of the UCLA Luskin Center for Innovation; Laurent Pilon, professor of mechanical and aerospace engineering; Richard Kaner, professor of chemistry and biochemistry and of materials science; and Mathieu Bauchy, professor of civil engineering.
The international competition, which began in 2015 and is scheduled to conclude in 2020, was launched to encourage the development of breakthrough technologies that power plants and other industrial facilities can use to fight climate change. It will award a total of $20 million to finalists and winners.
UCLA’s Carbon Upcycling team is one of 25 that has advanced to the semifinals by demonstrating a process for capturing carbon dioxide emissions from power plant smokestacks, the largest single source of greenhouse gas emissions. The trapped emissions will be used to create a carbon dioxide–neutral building material called CO2NCRETE, which can replace traditional concrete. The binding component of traditional concrete is responsible for nearly 9 percent of global carbon dioxide emissions.