Chrysalix Venture Capital


Steel Circularity Challenge

Help us find a solution that can economically upgrade end of life steel scrap to high-quality feedstock with low copper contamination

This challenge is closed


This challenge is closed



The steel industry is responsible for about 4% to 7% of global CO2 emissions and is facing significant pressure to decarbonize. The progress towards carbon neutrality will require an increase in scrap-based electric arc furnaces and a secure supply of high-quality feedstock. End of life steel scrap is often contaminated by tramp elements (e.g., Cu) that originate from copper wires and motors in automobiles, appliances & machinery and can lead to defects in the final steel product. The sector is challenged by opposing trends in the demand for low quality, copper tolerant end products (e.g., construction) and high quality, low copper automotive steels and the constraint of increasing copper contamination of scrap. 


By 2025-2030, steel manufactures will need to implement solutions to manage these constraints. We are looking for a solution that can economically upgrade end of life steel scrap to a high-quality feedstock with <0.06wt% copper content.


Chrysalix Venture Capital will award up to $250K USD for the winning solution, and successful, start-up worthy solutions that achieve the 6-12 month project milestones will have the opportunity for additional follow-on equity funding of $1M+ from the Chrysalix RoboValley Fund.


About the Sponsors

Chrysalix Venture Capital Chrysalix is a global venture capital fund with a long history commercializing step-change innovation for resource intensive industries. We invest in intelligent systems, energy technology and resource productivity solutions to deliver outsized financial returns and environmental sustainability. By teaming up with leading industrial companies and outstanding entrepreneurs, Chrysalix connects market driven problems to breakthrough solutions. Founded in Vancouver, Canada in 2001, Chrysalix has one of the strongest investment teams in the industry with deep energy, technology and entrepreneurial expertise, and is backed by more than 20 international blue chip industrial and financial investors.


Severstal PAO Severstal (“Severstal”, “the Company”, or “the Group”) is a vertically integrated steel and steel-related mining business with its major assets located in Russia. The Company was founded in 1955 at the Cherepovets Steel Mill in Russia. Severstal’s strategy is aimed at further strengthening its financial performance, maximising value creation and enhancing shareholder returns, whilst not harming its employees and minimising its impact on the environment. Severstal’s strategic priorities are providing a superior client experience, cost leadership and embracing new opportunities, supported by Severstal’s advanced corporate culture. The Company comprises two major operational divisions: Severstal Resources and Severstal Russian Steel


Chrysalix Venture Capital will award up to $250K USD for the winning solution.

The prize money:

  • Is awarded based on the judges’ evaluation of the best submission
  • Will be dedicated to funding a 6 to 12 month project to demonstrate a viable business case along with a proof of concept (e.g. technology prototype, techno-economic validation)
  • Final amount will be determined based on the technology readiness and business readiness level of the solution
  • Depending on the quality of the solutions, there could be more than one winner

Successful, start-up worthy solutions that achieve the 6-12 month project milestones will have the opportunity for additional follow-on equity funding of $1M+ from the Chrysalix RoboValley Fund.


How Do I Win

To be eligible for an award, your proposal must be submitted by Friday, November 13, 2020 at 5 pm PST and at a minimum:

  • Be scored higher than your competitors
  • Accurately and thoughtfully address the submission form questions (include only non-confidential information and data)
  • Satisfy the judging criteria and any follow-up questions
  • Semi-finalists may be invited to present to the judging panel in person
  • Timeline of the process can be found on the Timeline Tab


Judging Criteria

In scope solutions will:

  • Be able to detect the composition the end of life steel scrap
  • Be able to separate/sort the copper from the steel scrap to less than 0.06wt%

Out of scope solutions:

  • Manual disassembly or handpicking
  • Dilution with virgin iron or less contamination steel
  • Magnetic separation

Additionally, submissions that meet the minimum eligibility criteria will be evaluated with the following questions in mind:

  • Innovative - is it fundamentally different?
  • Valuable - does it generate substantial value beyond just cost savings?
  • Feasible - Is there a strategy to prove the concept efficiently and cost-effectively?



Participation Eligibility:

The challenge is open to all adult individuals, private teams, public teams, and collegiate teams. Submissions must be made in English. All challenge-related communication will be in English. No specific qualifications or expertise in the field is required.

To be eligible to compete, you must comply with all the terms of the challenge as defined in the Challenge-Specific Agreement.

Registration and Submissions:

Submissions must be made online only, via upload to the website, on or before 5pm PST on Friday, November 13, 2020 . All uploads must be in PDF format. No late submissions will be accepted.

Intellectual Property Rights:

Will be according to the respective Academic Partners’ policy or defined at contracting upon awarding the prize. The sponsors will not have default rights to the Intellectual Property.

Selection of Winners:

Based on the winning criteria, prizes will be awarded per the Judging Criteria section above. In the case of a tie, the winner(s) will be selected based on the highest votes from the Judges.

In the case of no winner, Chrysalix Venture Capital reserves the right to withhold the Prize amount.

Judging Panel:

The determination of the winners will be made by members of the Chrysalix Investment Team and select members of our Limited Partners by invitation.


Additional Information

  • By participating in the challenge, each competitor agrees to submit only their original idea. Any indication of "copying" amongst competitors is grounds for disqualification.
  • All applications will go through a process of due diligence; any application found to be misrepresentative, plagiarized, or sharing an idea that is not their own will be automatically disqualified.
  • All ineligible applicants will be automatically removed from the competition with no recourse or reimbursement.
  • No purchase or payment of any kind is necessary to enter or win the competition.
  • Void wherever restricted or prohibited by law.

Challenge Updates

Steel Circularity Challenge: Congratulations to our Finalist!

Feb. 1, 2021, 7:37 a.m. PST by HeroAJ

Congratulations to our Grand Prize Winner Boyd Davis from Kingston Process Matallurgy Inc. for his “One step Cu removal during heat up of steel scrap” entry! Well done Boyd and we look forward to working with you.


Thank you to all of the teams and innovators who entered the Steel Circularity Challenge. Please follow Chrysalix on HeroX as we will be posting additional incentive challenges in the near future. Stay tuned!



Steel Circularity Challenge: Semi Finalists Announced!

Nov. 30, 2020, 12:36 p.m. PST by HeroAJ

For the past 2-weeks, our team has been diligently reviewing the submissions and we have been thoroughly impressed by the number of engaged innovators around the world. To date, we have received over 5,600 views for this challenge, including an engaged community of 121 and 28 quality submissions. 

We are pleased to announce the following semi-finalists:

Facile Copper Removal from Shredded Steel ScrapbyJohnNewport
VCEP Process for Copper Reduction in Iron MeltsbyRobertFoster
One step Cu removal during heat-up of steel scrapbyBoydDavis
Ending Copper Entrapment by Cryogenic ComminutionbyCliffEdwards
Crushed steel powder magnet extracted from cooperbyLeonSandler
UCTSS Unwanted Copper Target Separation SystembyJovanovicIgor

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