Austin-based biotech company Reactive Surfaces Ltd., LLP (RSL) will collaborate with high school students from St. Stephen’s Episcopal School to compete in the XPRIZE Carbon Removal Competition. The competition is funded by SpaceX, the Musk Foundation and Elon Musk himself. Teams will face a number of milestone requirements before grand prize announcements in April 2025.
The competition aims to accelerate innovation for durable, low-cost, scalable and sustainable carbon removal solutions. Removing carbon dioxide gas from the atmosphere and sequestering it for long periods of time is one of many approaches to mitigating the effects of climate change.
RSL has bioengineered a paint in which algae photosynthesize and sequester carbon – mimicking the functionality of lichen, or nature’s “paint.” In fact, Carbon Capture Coatings on Massively Iterated Vertical Surfaces (CCC-MIVS) are 170 times more effective at capturing carbon dioxide than trees.
By collaborating with RSL, the SSTX Spartans – a team of high school students from St. Stephen’s Episcopal School – will compete in the XPRIZE Carbon Removal Student Competition, which offers $5 million in student prizes. The SSTX Spartans will submit a proposal to test the efficacy of CCC-MIVS in a simulated Martian environment, taking RSL’s technology one planet further to test a means of terraforming on Mars.