Technology Development

Q&A with UCLA XPRIZE Team Lead, Gaurav Sant

Carbon Transformation means dramatic technological, economic and cultural change that extends beyond the four walls of the laboratory–– into board rooms, government policy and the hearts and minds of consumers.

Big impact requires bold ideas and breakthrough innovations – and invested partners.

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Commercial-scale carbon utilization solution for the concrete materials industry, representing approximately 9% of global CO2 emmissions–– 3.2 billion tonnes of excess CO2 annually.
CarbonBuilt technology utilizes waste carbon dioxide in the manufacture of construction materials. The carbonated byproducts are then stored in the material, resulting in a more durable, lower carbon footprint–– and price competitive product.
  • Carbon mineralization
  • material science
  • concrete
  • cement
  • construction


Cloud-based platform that uses machine learning algorithms to identify and recommend cost-efficient concrete formulations.
ConcreteAI provides an ingestion interface that enables machines and end users to pass end-use and performance requirements into ConcreteAI's data transformation, cleaning and processing applications. Candidate concrete formulations are then generated through a series of analyses and supervised and unsupervised machine learning computations. Once formulations have been identified, a product declaration is automatically created based on the formulation’s projected environmental impact.
  • Carbon mineralization
  • material science
  • concrete
  • cement
  • construction


Low-cost, modular, electrochemical direct air capture to catalyze carbon dioxide utilization and removal.
x/44 is developing a novel electrochemical reactor to achieve direct air capture (DAC) through fractional CO2 enrichment (FCE). By generating acid and base, in situ, via water electrolysis, a pH swing regenerates CO2-saturated solvents at ambient temperature and pressure. The technology, relying solely on water and electricity as inputs, is sustainable, scalable and low cost. Its modular, distributed design enables geographic flexibility in siting for widespread adoption to catalyze emerging CO2 utilization and removal technologies.
  • Direct air capture
  • Fractional Enrichment
  • Electrochemical
  • Modular/Distributed
  • Sustainable


Ultrafast production of zeolites as low-energy, low-CO2 cementitious agents with controlled microstructure.
The Low-temperature Architected Cementation Agents (LAMINAE) process harnesses ultrasonic energy to extract necessary elements from waste materials and abundant rocks, and then exploits temperature and pressure metastability for ultrafast hydrothermal synthesis of cementitious zeolites found in Roman concrete. The process consumes 30% less energy and produces 60% less CO2 than current OPC manufacture, and offers increased concrete stability and longevity from the controlled microstructure of the zeolitic species produced.
  • Zeolite
  • hydrothermal synthesis
  • cement
  • concrete
  • microstructure


Emissions-free calcium hydroxide production for carbon-negative building materials, using electrolysis at ambient conditions
Electrochemical Production of Calcium Hydroxide (EPOCH) extracts calcium from abundant industrial wastes and rocks, and converts it to calcium hydroxide, a critical component in carbon utilization and mineralization. Electrolysis provides necessary alkalinity and acidity in situ, eliminating the need for expensive, polluting additives. The net process energy consumption is comparable to conventional production, but without the CO2 emissions from high-temperature limestone decomposition, enabling its usage in true carbon-negative building materials.
  • calcium hydroxide
  • electrolysis
  • carbon mineralization
  • waste utilization
  • cement

Targeted Separation and Recovery of Metals from Brines for Energy Storage Applications

Ion-specific membranes offer the opportunity to effectively recover target elements from complex brines in a cost-competitive and environmentally-friendly manner.
ICM has developed a membrane-based technology platform that enables the specific separation and recovery of target ions from complex brines. The process is enabled by engineering an ion-specific pathway through a polymeric membrane that facilitates the movement of target ions through the polymer, while other competing ions are rejected by the polymer backbone. We have demonstrated this concept on multiple ions of interest (both metallic and non-metallic), and are actively expanding the target ion portfolio through computational (AI-based) and experimental methods. Specific ions of interest include lithium, nickel, cobalt, uranium, rare earth elements, phosphate, ammonium, and nitrate.
  • Membranes
  • Ion-Specific Separations
  • Lithium
  • Nickel
  • Cobalt
  • Rare Earth Elements


Transformational electrochemical process sequesters CO₂ in seawater as carbonates and hydroxides, thereby ensuring energy efficient and permanent CO2 removal.
ICM has developed a transformative electrolytic approach for carbon dioxide removal that exploits the ocean-air equilibrium of CO2 and the enormous abundance of alkaline cations in seawater. The process applies renewable energy to force mineral formation via reactions between dissolved CO2 and Mg/Ca cations via the continuous, in-situ alkalization of seawater in electrolytic flow reactors to permanently lock CO2 as stable carbonate solids and/or as aqueous bicarbonates. The discharge of decarbonated, brucite-enriched seawater, that is re-alkalized via the dissolution of mafic/ultramafic rocks enables the direct absorption of additional atmospheric CO2 via rapid mass-transfer between the atmosphere and oceans. The process also produces green hydrogen: a clean fuel to power the process during intermittency, or that can be sold as a revenue garnering co-product.
  • Electrolysis
  • Carbon Dioxide Removal
  • Carbonates
  • Green Hydrogen
  • Renewable Energy

Extraction of valuable metals via sonic stimulation and sequential electrolysis

A negative emissions technology that greens the ore refining industry while providing critical metals for the energy transition.
ICM has is working to develop a process that exploits acoustic chemistry to rapidly solubilize ultramafic rocks into an aqueous mixture. Thereafter, an electrochemical approach is used to separate and precipitate the desired components of the mixture (e.g., Ni, Mn, Co, Mg, Ca) into their hydroxides by exploiting the pH-dependent solubility of these compounds within a flow-reactor. The excess acidity generated at the anode can be re-utilized to enhance the dissolution of the rocks. The flow-reactor can be tuned to precisely, controllably, and sequentially precipitate the hydroxides along its length, analogous to a liquid phase distillation process. The solid products include precipitates of the transition metals nickel, cobalt, molybdenum, iron, copper, titanium, chromium and also prodigious volumes of alkaline earth metals precipitated as magnesium hydroxide (and calcium hydroxide).
  • Renewable Energy
  • Ion-Specific Separations
  • Critical Materials
  • Carbon Dioxide Avoidance
  • Carbon Dioxide Removal
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Institute for Carbon Management

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