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Innovative Solutions for NOx and Hg Abatement in WTE Plants

  • Award: $40000 USD
  • Challenge type: Theoretical IP Transfer
  • Challenge under evaluation

Challenge overview


Waste-to-energy (WTE) plants convert unsorted urban waste into energy through a process of incineration in a boiler. The combustion of waste generates a flue gas containing different concentrations of pollutants, such as acid gases, mercury, metals, and volatile organic compounds. A2A Ambiente is looking for two different types of innovative solutions that could capture and remove:

  1. NOx from flue gas at low temperatures (T around 140°C);
  2. Hg from flue gas at high temperatures for a dry system technology.

This Theoretical Challenge requires only a written proposal.



A2A Ambiente’s waste-to-energy plants transform undifferentiated urban waste into energy through an incineration process in a boiler and the combustion of waste generates pollutants that shall be removed from the flue gases. Today there is a significant reduction in emissions in the waste incineration sector, but at the same time available technologies must be adapted to the new standards. For these reasons, A2A Ambiente is looking for solutions for the innovative development of two main systems:

  1. NOx abatement from flue gas at low temperatures, in order to reduce costs in fuel consumption.
  2. Mercury removal at high temperatures, in order to reduce peaks at the stack due to waste heterogeneity in the bunker (where it is stored before being burned) and in the combustion chamber,

This is a Theoretical Challenge that requires only a written proposal to be submitted. The Challenge award will be contingent upon theoretical evaluation of the proposal by the Seeker.

The total prize pool budget is $40,000. The minimum full award is $20,000 for solutions that meet all of the stated solution criteria for NOx abatement OR mercury removal.

To receive an award, the Solvers will have to transfer to the Seeker their exclusive Intellectual Property (IP) rights to the solution.

Submissions to this Challenge must be received by 11:59 PM (US Eastern Time) on April 25, 2022. 

Late submissions will not be considered.



Employees of A2A Group and their families are not eligible to receive awards for this Challenge.



The A2A Group is the largest Italian multi utility, at the forefront of territorial services and technological solutions. We design smart and sustainable cities, with respect for the citizens, we are protagonists of energy transition, and we implement the principle of the circular economy in all of our activities. With a far-reaching strategic plan, we manage the generation, sale and distribution of electricity and gas, district heating, waste collection and recovery, e-mobility, public lighting, and the integrated water services.

A2A Ambiente, part of the A2A Group, designs, builds, and manages the collection systems and plants for the sorting, treatment and transformation of waste into material or energy according to circular economy principles. The company operates a vast range of plants that stand out for their reliability and innovation, safety and high environmental performance, and offers integrated and cutting-edge solutions in all sectors of environmental services to both administrations and businesses. A2A Ambiente develops research activities aimed at identifying new technologies and collaborations with industrial partners.


What is InnoCentive?

InnoCentive is the global innovation marketplace where creative minds solve some of the world's most important problems for cash awards up to $1 million. Commercial, governmental and humanitarian organizations engage with InnoCentive to solve problems that can impact humankind in areas ranging from the environment to medical advancements.

What is a Theoretical IP Transfer Challenge?

An InnoCentive Theoretical Challenge builds upon an idea but is not yet a proof of concept. A solution to a Theoretical Challenge will solidify the Solver’s concept with detailed descriptions, specifications and requirements necessary to bringing a good idea closer to becoming an actual product or service.

This Challenge is a Theoretical IP Transfer Challenge, meaning that Solvers must relinquish all rights to the Intellectual Property (IP) for which they are awarded. By contrast, Theoretical-Licensing Transfer means that the Seeker is requesting non-exclusive rights to use the winning solution. For these forms of a Theoretical Challenge, Solvers that do not win retain the rights to their solution after the evaluation period is complete. The Seeker retains no rights to any IP not awarded.