RALEIGH – A local engineering firm, 350Solutions, played a critical role in evaluating the projects submitted for consideration in the NRG COSIA Carbon XPRIZE competition: establishing the technically and environmentally-focused verification protocols and completing an independent verification for each technology.

The NRG COSIA Carbon XPRIZE was awarded to two teams yesterday, with Canadian company CarbonCure Technologies and a team from UCLA led by Guarav Sant both receiving $7.5 million.

“As our best innovators and entrepreneurs develop and scale technologies and approaches to use or sequester carbon dioxide, we need to be sure we have high-quality, rigorous evaluations, including independent verification, so we have a sound understanding of the actual impact of each approach,” said Tim Hansen, founder and CEO of 350Solutions. “Verification helps reduce risk for developers and investors while spurring continued innovation by providing credibility regarding a technology’s performance and impact.”

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From a broad perspective, environmental technology verification ensures that developers, investors, or interested parties have high quality data on technology performance, said Hansen in an interview with WRAL TechWire. “Independent, third-party verification allows for accountability and consistency in reporting.”

The company, which operates out of the coworking community Loading Dock, was extensively involved in developing the verification plans–the approaches and metrics–for the competition, through a multi-year contract with XPRIZE, which took its name this year from sponsorship by NRG, a U.S.-based energy company, and COSIA, the Canadian Oil Sands Industry Alliance.

Each verification plan helped provide XPRIZE judges clean and consistent data, and the company also worked with each finalist to account for all of the resources that were used in, or created by, their technology.

“We observed and reviewed all the data that was submitted by the teams as well as installed our own equipment to measure how much CO2, energy, and water each team was using,” said Hansen. “Finally, 350Solutions collected samples of the final products and had them analyzed to ensure that they were viable, market-competitive products.”

According to the company, each verification included assessment of the amount of CO2 converted into a useful product, the energy and water consumption of the technology, and the overall net value of the final product.


The company logged more than 95,000 miles of travel to 28 different site locations in six countries to conduct the work over more than four years.  The demonstration and testing round occurred with finalists between June and December 2020, and the company provided final reports to XPRIZE in January ahead of yesterday’s award announcement.

The company imagines a future in which independent technology verification becomes a standard practice. Yet scientists, developers, and investors that aim to add value while reducing risk ought consider setting up independent technology verification, particularly in the cleantech industry, said Hansen, no matter the stage at which it happens in the technology’s lifecycle.

The company is now in the process of finalizing public verification statements for several of the technologies that were competing in the XPRIZE under the ISO 14034 standard, and it plans to issue those later in the month.