Finalists for the 2020 Keeling Curve Prize include projects that turn carbon dioxide into stone, bring solar energy to rural Africa, help people get paid for removing carbon dioxide from the atmosphere, and invite people online to post messages about climate change to those they love living decades in the future. The 20 finalists, announced during the Smithsonian’s digital Earth Optimism Summit, were chosen from over 300 applications from all over the world.

“We are thrilled to present this year’s finalists,” said Jacquelyn Francis, founder and director of the Keeling Curve Prize. “They have strong potential to curb global warming emissions and demonstrate that game-changing solutions to this crisis are well underway.”

Every year, the Keeling Curve Prize awards $25,000 to 10 projects around the globe with significant potential to reduce greenhouse gas emissions or increase carbon uptake. The prize is named after scientist Charles David Keeling’s famous Keeling Curve, which has been showing an increase in carbon dioxide levels in the Earth’s atmosphere since 1958.

“We aim to bend the Keeling Curve by identifying and supporting the world’s most promising global warming solutions projects,” said Francis.

Four finalists were vetted by a team of research analysts and selected by the advisory council for each of this year’s five prize categories:

  • Capture & Utilization
  • Energy
  • Transport & Mobility
  • Finance
  • Social & Cultural Pathways

An international panel of judges from the private, public, and nonprofit sectors will select two winners in each category. The winners will be announced in June.

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“The Keeling Curve Prize adds enormous value to the effort to curb global warming,” said Dan Kammen, a KCP advisory council member and Distinguished Professor of Energy at UC Berkeley. “It identifies emerging climate solutions, funds them directly, and raises their profile among other potential funders. And the award process is designed to move prize money to these important projects quickly and efficiently.”

The following is a list of the finalists and where they are headquartered.

Capture & Utilization

  • Borneo Nature Foundationprotects the peat-swamp forests of southern Borneo,some of the largest terrestrial carbon stores on the planet. (Indonesia)
  • CarbFixcaptures CO2and turns it into stone underground in less than two yearsthrough proprietary technology. (Iceland)
  • GHGSat’s technology and satellite platform enable GHG and air-quality gasmeasurements that are more accurate and cheaper than comparable alternatives. (Canada)
  • New Leaf Dynamic’s GreenCHILL technology offers rural farmers an off-the-gridrefrigeration system powered by farm waste. (India)

Energy

  • CLIMATENZAaims to cut carbon emissions from the industrial sector in emergingeconomies by implementing next-generation solar thermal technology. (India)
  • Jaza Energyreplaces fossil fuels with clean energy in remote African communities.(Canada and Tanzania)
  • Oorja Development Solutionsdeploys community solar irrigation pumps for farmersin rural India. (India)
  • SkyCool Systems’ radiative sky cooling panel improves the efficiency of airconditioning and refrigeration systems. (Mountain View, Calif.)

Finance

  • Aligned Climate Capitalaccelerates private capital flows into sustainable real assetsincluding clean energy, efficient transportation, green real estate, and sustainable natural resources. (New York)
  • Nori’s carbon-removal marketplace makes it easier for people to get paid for pullingexcess carbon dioxide out of the atmosphere (Seattle, Wash.)
  • Odyssey Energy Solutionsfacilitates financing and development of off-griddistributed energy projects that address rural energy poverty in developing countries. (Boulder, Colo.)
  • The Generation Forestcooperative enables finance and climate action to worktogether through impact investment for retail investors. (Germany)

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Transport & Mobility

  • Auto-Truck E.A. Ltd.has developed an electric-powered three-wheeler minicab for usein African cities and large towns. (Kenya)
  • Bridges to Prosperityprovides economic mobility to rural communities in developingcountries while reducing the need for vehicle infrastructure by building pedestrian footbridges for ‘last mile’ connections. (Denver, Colo.)
  • EH Group Engineeringhas developed a new kind of low-temperature fuel cell thatenables compact, lightweight, cheap, and highly efficient energy generators with minimal emissions. (Switzerland)
  • EVmatchaims to revolutionize electric vehicle (EV) charging through a peer-to-peercharging network. (Santa Barbara, Calif.)

Social & Cultural Pathways

  • Citizens’ Climateis focused on the advancement of bipartisan climate changemitigation policies, such as national dividend and carbon fee policies. (Coronado, Calif.)
  • The Climate Museuminspires climate action with programming across the arts andsciences that deepens understanding, builds connections, and advances just solutions. (New York)
  • Dear Tomorrowis a global climate storytelling project where people write messages topeople they love living in the future. (Tysons, Va.)
  • Feedbackis an evidence-based environmental campaign charity working to regeneratenature by transforming the food system. (United Kingdom)
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