Contact: Harriet Laird
STARKVILLE, Mississippi — The state of Mississippi is one of only 23 universities in the world to win an international student competition on carbon elimination supported by the foundation of SpaceX CEO Elon Musk.
The only winner from the SEC and the entire Southeast region, MSU’s Energy Club will use the impressive $ 250,000 prize to advance its “BECReative Energy” concept in the $ 100 million XPRIZE competition. dollars on carbon elimination peaking in 2024. The student organization at Bagley College of Engineering has received Musk Foundation funding from the nonprofit XPRIZE, a global player in model implementation. innovative competition to solve the world’s biggest challenges.
Student founder and team leader Colby Freeman, a bioengineering graduate, said the success of the scalable carbon removal competition over the next three years could see MSU win the multi-million dollar grand prize .
“This would allow us, as a university, to create so many opportunities for university students in the field of renewable energy and to make the State of Mississippi a leading institution for sustainability,” said the native of Snellville, Georgia.
The MSU team of more than 20 students includes interdisciplinary collaborators in several fields of engineering expertise, including agricultural and biological, chemical, computer, mechanical, civil and petroleum. The educational advisers are Fei Yu, professor of agricultural and biological engineering, and Amin Amirlatifi, assistant professor of chemical engineering.
To win the competition, the team must demonstrate a rigorous and validated scale model of their solution at a carbon removal level of 1 ton of CO2 per day, and must also demonstrate that their solution can scale economically. up to gigatons, or 2.2 trillion pounds. , levels. The next three years will be spent researching their planned system implementation, purchasing the necessary equipment, funding graduate students in the lab and more.
Musk said of the contest in Businesswire earlier this year: “It’s not a theory contest; we want teams that will build real systems capable of having a measurable impact and scaling up to a gigaton level. Whatever the cost. Hurry up. “
The team’s “BECReative Energy” concept focuses on biomass gasification, a process that turns biomass sources into syngas. The carbon in the syngas is then captured, leaving a flow of versatile carbonless hydrogen that can be used in a number of ways – for the production of electricity or heat in manufacturing plants, for transportation fuel or for other industrial processes such as the production of fertilizers.
“The key,” Freeman said, “is that the carbon from biomass comes from the atmosphere in the form of CO2, so it’s important for us to focus on sources like agricultural and forestry residues, as well as on sustainably managed forests, which continue to draw CO2 from the atmosphere year after year.
To learn more about the work of the MSU team, visit www.becrenergy.com.
MSU is Mississippi’s premier university, available online at www.msstate.edu.