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Knoxville company named a finalist in Elon Musk's CO2 removal prize

SkyNano is competing for one of 15 $1 million awards from Musk's XPRIZE incentive, which awards companies that present sustainable solutions for CO2 removal.

KNOXVILLE, Tenn. — A Knoxville startup called SkyNano is now a finalist for Tesla CEO Elon Musk's carbon removal initiative to battle climate change.

SkyNano is a company that captures carbon dioxide from sources such as the atmosphere and flue gas to convert it into materials, such as carbon nanotubes. Those tubes are sold and made into many things, including tires and computer chips.

The company was founded in 2017 as a spin-out of Vanderbilt University and worked on the Crossroads program at the Oak Ridge National Laboratory.

The company is now among the 60 finalists currently waiting to see if they will be one of 15 $1 million milestone awards from Musk's XPRIZE incentive, which awards companies that demonstrate sustainable solutions for CO2 removal. 

The 15 winners will be announced on Earth Day on April 22 and will then go on to compete for a $50 million grand prize or $30 million runner-up prize that will be awarded on Earth Day in 2025.

"It's really exciting for us to represent the state, and top 60, but it's a global competition, so I don't know how many are from the U.S., not that many," SkyNano CEO Anna Douglas said. "So in some ways it's pretty cool just in general to have anyone from Tennessee in this."

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