The Grand Challenge is seeking to create new products and markets based on the utilization and conversion of carbon dioxide.

"The CCEMC is pleased with the 55 excellent submissions that we have shortlisted," said CCEMC Chair Eric Newell. "The response demonstrates that there is the potential for exciting breakthrough carbon utilization technologies that can be developed and commercialized."

Shortlisted projects are diverse and include chemical synthesis, carbonate production, liquid fuels, bacteria bio-fixation, methanol production, solid carbon products, polymer processing, syngas production, fertilizer production, algae bio-fixation and water treatment.

Winning projects will be announced on 15 April at the Zero2014 conference in Edmonton.

The CCEMC launched the Grand Challenge in February. The first round of the CCEMC Grand Challenge is seeking to identify up to 20 semi-finalists who will be awarded a grant of up to $500,000 to support development of their technologies.

The first round of the Grand Challenge invited short, non-confidential applications from around the globe. To be eligible, applicants were required to demonstrate potential to reduce greenhouse gas emissions through the utilization and conversion of carbon dioxide to create valuable carbon-based products. Projects could be at any stage of development from initial proof-of-concept to commercial deployment in Alberta.

The CCEMC received 344 applications from around the world. Each eligible application was reviewed by one of six seven-person teams followed by a consensus meeting of technical adjudicators. Criteria used in the assessment included greenhouse gas benefits, viability and scalability, suitability for Alberta and timeframe — technology that can be demonstrated within two years is favored, however proposals with longer timelines but potential for high impact were also considered as long as proof of concept can be shown within two years.

Full proposals will be vetted by technical experts and a team of judges who bring diverse views to the selection process. This global and multi-disciplinary evaluation is essential to identifying new and breakthrough technology pathways.

The second round of the CCEMC Grand Challenge: Innovative Carbon Uses will open for submissions in March 2015. It will be open to both new entrants and all applicants from the first round. Up to five projects will receive grants of up to $3m each to develop their technologies. The final winning solution will be announced in 2018, with the winner receiving a $10m grant to help commercialize their technology in Alberta.

In addition to the Grand Challenge, twice each year the CCEMC invites submissions for projects that will reduce greenhouse gas emissions. The organization currently has $40m available for projects that reduce GHG emissions or enhance carbon sequestration from biological sources.