Project Hajar wins $1M XPRIZE Carbon Removal Milestone Award

Mission Zero Technologies (MZT) and 44.01 are recognised among the top fifteen $1M Milestone Award winners in the largest incentive prize in history funded by the Musk Foundation.

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Earlier today, Project Hajar - a collaboration between UK-based Mission Zero Technologies (MZT) and Oman-based 44.01 - was recognised among the top fifteen $1M Milestone Award 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. The prize money will enable us to execute our vision for Project Hajar. The hard work starts now.”

— Karan Khimji, Cofounder and CCO of 44.01

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.”

— Dr Marcius Extavour, chief scientist & vice president of climate and environment at XPRIZE

“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. 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.”
Dr Shiladitya Ghosh, Mission Zero co-founder and COO
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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.

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