Supporting the next generation of climate technologies


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However, even the combined power of those solutions will not be enough. We must also rapidly explore and invest in promising new technologies that can neutralize emissions in many carbon-intensive industries for which there is no cheap or easy path to decarbonization. The next few years are critical. Sadly, many potential climate technology breakthroughs wither on the vine because they lack the resources to leap from the lab to commercial application, or they fail to scale enough to be viable. This phenomenon is known in investor circles as the valley of death.

Supporting the next generation of climate technologies
Supporting the next generation of climate technologies

After evaluating applications from more than 300 teams across China, narrowed down to a pool of 30 finalists, we are thrilled to announce the first cohort of 13 winners. They will receive funding and other support to continue their work and hopefully make an impact in the ultimate global challenge of our era. Helping critical industries Despite encouraging momentum in renewables and electrification, many industries still have no affordable or practical way to decarbonize.

Sectors such as cement and steel emit CO2 as an inherent result of their industrial processes. Yet these businesses are critical to our modern society — and even to the green transition itself — by supplying key materials and components used to build more efficient buildings, electric cars and other products.

CCUS and technology-based carbon removal offer a solution. By filtering CO2 out of industrial fuels or pulling it directly out of the air, the gas can then be concentrated and safely stored underground or repurposed as an input for building materials, synthetic fuels or greenhouse facilities.

Some of these technologies have a dual benefit: help prevent new carbon from entering the atmosphere and also draw down CO2 that accumulated over centuries.

CCUS and technology-based carbon removal encompass disciplines including chemical engineering, geology, energy and materials. Innovation in technological pathways and strengthening capabilities in areas such as site selection for carbon storage and accounting methodologies are all essential for effective implementation.

To be sure, CCUS is not yet cost effective, but it’s also true that solar and wind power were more expensive than fossil fuels before they became competitive thanks to years of policy and financial support.

Indeed, the International Energy Agency expects global carbon-capture capacity to rise more than sixfold by 2030, to 300 million metric tons a year, underscoring its emergence as a major player in the world’s decarbonization strategy. But that is not possible without adequate financial resources and other crucial forms of assistance.

From research lab to factory floor

CarbonX supports projects across three tracks: Lab, Accelerator and Infrastructure. A panel of experts from academia, industry and the investment community judged the entries and will continue to provide valuable research and commercialization advice.

Winners were selected based on the potential they demonstrated in terms of innovation, impact and implementation. They comprise four projects from the Lab track, six from Accelerator and three from Infrastructure:

Lab track: Supports nascent technologies under development at research institutions, universities or labs. For example, some teams developed methods to use steel slag to capture and store CO2 directly from blast furnace exhaust, which also has a positive side benefit of reducing industrial waste.

Accelerator track: Supports early-stage startups with commercialization potential. A few startups are converting CO2 into sustainable aviation fuel and valuable chemicals through tools such as electrochemical reactions or microorganisms.

Infrastructure track: Supports capacity building, such as digital infrastructure, methodologies and other resources needed to help the industry develop.

Some projects are seeking ways to better evaluate sites for CCUS projects or standardize carbon reduction or removal measurements — developing better methodologies for measuring, reporting and verifying emissions. CarbonX aims to help these innovators scale their technologies and solutions to achieve some lofty goals.

In addition to financial and advisory support, some winning projects will collaborate with our industry partners to test their solutions in real-world settings. We believe that each technology, once at commercial scale, has the potential to neutralize 100 million metric tons of CO2 emissions every year, equivalent to taking 20 million gas-powered cars off the road.

Forging the path forward

CarbonX is just one of many ways in which Tencent is driving the transition to a low-carbon society. We have led the industry in building ultra-efficient hyperscale data centers, installed on-site solar and energy-efficient upgrades across our corporate facilities, and contracted supplies of green energy from local grids.

In addition, Tencent provides a variety of digital products, services and initiatives to foster low-carbon lifestyles for individual consumers and assist businesses in reducing their own carbon footprints.

Green Energy Glut Doesn’t Cause Negative Power Prices, REN21’s Head Says

(Yicai) June 13 — The main problem of negative electricity prices is not the oversupply of renewable energies but that of fossil fuel capacities, according to the executive director of Paris-based global green energy think tank REN21.

“Very often renewable energy is finger-pointed when negative electricity prices happen, but actually renewable energy is not the problem,” Rana Adib told Yicai.

Negative market prices occur when there is low electricity demand and high thermal, nuclear, or fossil fuel electricity capacities that are not flexible enough to adapt to variable renewable resources, such as solar and wind power, Adib noted.

“This also occurs because fossil fuel prices are low because they are heavily subsidized globally,” Adib added. For example, coal or natural gas plant operators should halt production when prices are too low, but because of the subsidies, they continue to output and sell electricity at negative prices, she explained.

“Energy transition is not only a fuel switch, as it requires a change in energy supply, infrastructure, demand, and building up of industrial capacities,” Adib said. There are solutions to the negative electricity price issue, such as phasing out non-flexible thermal or fossil fuel capacities, building upstart capacities, and increasing the flexible options, including the development of storage, dispatchable renewable energy, and heat pumps, Adib pointed out.

“So it is really about phasing out thermal and fossil fuel-based capacities and massively ramping up manufacturing capacities of all renewable energy technologies, including storage, electric vehicles, and heat pumps,” according to Adib.

Moreover, it is worth noticing that governments often focus on accelerating renewable energy supply, which is necessary, but forget that the transition from fossil fuels to renewables also needs to happen on the consumption end, Adib said.

In the Renewables in Energy Demand section of the Renewables 2024 Global Status Report released in April, REN21 noted that renewable energy demand faces challenges in all major sectors because of weakening policy support. As of the end of last year, only China, the United States, and 11 other countries had in place renewable energy policies for all four demand sectors — power, buildings, industry, and transport.

Another point that Adib addressed is the difficulty of increasing demand. The supply side is usually managed by energy ministries, while the demand side is handled by other different ministries, so there is a missing alignment of policy strategies, she said.

Therefore, governments should introduce much more aligned strategies, such as integrated policy and infrastructure planning, thus ensuring policy synergy between economy-wide energy supply and different demands from sectors and infrastructure development, Adib explained.

Even though China does face similar challenges on the demand side, it is much more advanced than other countries in terms of electrification from the end user perspective, which includes the adoption of solar thermal technologies in the building sector and the development of the new energy vehicle industry, according to Adib.

However, she noted that mandating renewable electricity use in the NEV industry could significantly boost demand for solar panels and wind energy.

Streamlined permitting, new technologies put nuclear energy back in spotlight

When asked about the prospects of increased nuclear generation impacting Mississippi, the PSC Chairman said the Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA) is investing significant resources into the nuclear pool.

TVA, which provides energy for a portion of North Mississippi, has partnered with Kairos Power, a California-based company, to deploy an experimental advanced nuclear reactor in Oak Ridge, Tennessee. The NRC approved the construction permitting for the facility in late 2023.

Brown said the test project is an SMR. Once the proof of concept is finalized, the plan is to deploy more in the TVA area. “Where Mississippi comes in is Yellow Creek in Tishomingo County was approved for nuclear reactors,” Brown said, adding that the Commission is considering the possibility for using that site for future deployment of SMR by TVA.

The modular nature of the SMR makes them cheaper to construct and easier to place around the grid based on the energy need, often tying into existing infrastructure, Brown described. “Our best shot in Mississippi for nuclear power in the near future is TVA locating reactors in North Mississippi,” Commissioner Brown said.

The Mississippi PSC is also planning to host a series of open meetings later this summer, with one dedicated to the possibility of Mississippi’s energy future as it pertains to nuclear as well as the costs and benefits of the technology.

“So, we’re being pro-active on this,” Brown added.

Tech Billionaires Buying In Billion-dollar tech companies are also eyeing the future development and deployment of nuclear energy at a time when state and federal governments are moving in that direction. The private-sector push is largely being considered to support their large-scale power needs as data and artificial intelligence centers come online.

ARS Technica noted in April that electricity supply is becoming the latest chokepoint to threaten the growth of AI, according to tech chiefs, as power-hungry data centers add to the strain on grids around the world.

“Billionaire Elon Musk said this month that while the development of AI had been ‘chip constrained’ last year, the latest bottleneck to the cutting-edge technology was ‘electricity supply,’” ARS Technica reported. “Those comments followed a warning by Amazon chief Andy Jassy this year that there was ‘not enough energy right now’ to run new generative AI services.”

Musk has repeatedly expressed his support for increased nuclear power generation. 

Amazon Web Services, which has invested billions in new data centers coming to Mississippi, recently acquired Talen Energy’s data center, Cumulus Data Assets, in Pennsylvania for $650 million.

The 1,200-acre facility is powered by a neighboring nuclear power station owned by Talen. Chris Sharp, chief technology officer at Digital Realty, an AI company out of Oregon, told the BBC that data centers in the not-too-distant future will come with their own dedicated, built-in nuclear reactors, perhaps by way of SMR.

“Our industry has to find another source of power,” Sharp declared.

The BBC also spoke with Dr. Michael Bluck with the Centre for Nuclear Engineering at Imperial College London. He said, “Data centres are power hungry things, but with AI we’re moving into a new level of power requirements.”

In addition, tech billionaires are getting in on the nuclear movement out of want to advance the “clean energy” technology as many seek net zero emissions supportive of the “climate change” agenda.


The path forward is not easy. But in uncertainty lies hope. We are excited and inspired by the passion and innovation displayed by every team that participated in this first phase of CarbonX. We also recognize that we’ve only begun our journey to fulfill our mission of Tech for Good and embrace the simple idea that businesses must step up as responsible stakeholders in society. Every product, every service, every person has the potential to drive positive social impact, and we welcome more like-minded partners to join us to create a greener, more prosperous future for all.

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