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Tencent Announces Winners of Flagship CarbonX Program to Combat Climate Change

CarbonX aims to advance technology for climate change mitigation and promote carbon neutrality.

Tencent is awarding 13 exceptional teams that won the first phase of its groundbreaking CarbonX Program, which is aimed at boosting promising new climate technologies. The winners, which emerged from a pool of 30 finalists and more than 300 initial applications, will receive a total of around RMB 100 million (US$14 million) in financial support from Tencent. It showcases the company’s commitment to driving sustainable social innovations in the fight against climate change.

CarbonX was launched in March 2023 to advance the next generation of low-carbon technologies. Tencent has committed RMB 200 million (US$28 million) in catalytic funding over the next three years to innovative ideas that might otherwise languish or fail to gain traction.

CarbonX’s first phase focused on carbon capture, utilization, and storage (CCUS), as well as technology-based carbon removal. These solutions were chosen for their unique ability to curb emissions from hard-to-abate industries such as steel and cement, mitigate the continued reliance on fossil fuels, and reduce legacy emissions created from decades of industrialization.

Backed by Tencent’s mission of Tech for Good and an alliance of like-minded industry partners, CarbonX aims to help these cutting-edge technologies make the leap from the research or early startup stage to commercial scale. The ultimate goal is supporting them in making a significant impact toward the targets outlined in the Paris Agreement, which includes a 45 percent reduction in emissions by 2030 and achieving net-zero emissions by 2050.

Dr. Hao Xu, Tencent’s Vice President of Sustainable Social Value and Head of Tencent’s Carbon Neutrality Lab, said: “Technology innovation serves as the driving force to accelerate our progress toward achieving carbon neutrality. Our CarbonX program is aimed at fostering the growth of these technologies, driving positive impact across society, and laying the groundwork for a more sustainable future.”

Professor Jerry Yan, Chair Professor of the Hong Kong Polytechnic University and Co-chairman of the CarbonX expert committee, said: “To pave the path for a greener economy, we must champion the development of cutting-edge low-carbon technologies. Just as solar and wind power were nurtured in their infancy, emerging solutions like CCUS and tech-based carbon removal demand our early support.”

The CarbonX program assembled a panel of experts from academia, industries, and the investor community as the jury, and welcomed submissions from diverse participants across three distinct tracks:

  • CarbonX Lab: Designed to incubate research institutions, universities, or labs that bring in game-changing climate solutions
  • CarbonX Accelerator: Designed to accelerate the growth of climate-tech startups that exhibit commercialization potential
  • CarbonX Infrastructure: Designed to support capacity building to facilitate industry development

The finalists comprise four projects from the Lab track, six from the Accelerator track, and three from the Infrastructure track. These projects explore innovative solutions, such as using steel slag to capture and store carbon directly from furnace exhaust, converting CO2 into sustainable aviation fuel and valuable chemicals through electrochemical reactions or microorganisms, and employing new approaches to directly capture CO2 from the atmosphere with the hope of slashing the cost to less than US$150 per ton.

Meanwhile, Tencent is also collaborating with Tsinghua University to develop a comprehensive system of Measure, Reporting and Verification (MRV) tools to accurately gauge progress toward decarbonization.

Aside from receiving financial and advisory support, several projects will also have the opportunity to collaborate with industry partners and test their research beyond the laboratory setting.

Building upon the success of the first phase, Tencent is poised to launch the second iteration of CarbonX globally as early as later this year in pursuit of early-stage climate tech innovation.