Elon Musk puts up $100 million for ‘Carbon Removal’ competition

Elon Musk puts up $100 million for 'Carbon Removal' competition

XPRIZE and Elon Musk will award the team with a proven technology that can extract at least 1000 tonnes of carbon dioxide per year.

Elon Musk and chairman Peter Diamandis officially announced XPRIZE’s new competition on Thursday. The pair shared the details of the prize in a live stream through the organization’s official YouTube channel.

The announcement was “particularly timely” because they did it on Earth Day, according to Entrepreneur. But, what makes it more fitting is due to the goals of the contest.

As noted, the $100 million Carbon Removal competition aims to award innovators across the globe who can come up with new carbon removal technologies. It should be a “large-scale project that can pull carbon dioxide directly from the atmosphere or oceans.”

Details of the $100M XPRIZE Carbon Removal Competition

The competition will run for four years. A panel will review all submissions within the first year.

They will award about AU$19.2 million across all chosen teams as “seed money” to help them take their proposals off the ground. Another AU$6.4 million will be reserved for student teams.

In the fourth year, one grand prize winner will receive about AU$64.2 million. The remaining AU$38.5 million will be divided among the second, third, and fourth placers.

In order to win the competition, the team should be able to prove that its technology can extract 1000 tonnes of carbon dioxide per year. The same technology should also have the potential to scale up the extraction up to millions of tonnes in the future.

Aside from these parameters, the winning team should prove that the carbon dioxide can be “durably and sustainably” sequestered for years. The competition, which Elon Musk funded, later on, notes that “any carbon negative solution is eligible.”

The goal of the contest

CNN said that XPRIZE is a long-running organization that “hosts competitions,” which are intended to encourage innovations to benefit humanity. For the $100M Carbon Removal competition, the organization, alongside Elon Musk, hopes to combat climate change and rebalance Earth’s carbon cycle, which they deem as the “biggest threats facing humanity.”

The organization also pointed out that this contest is the “largest cash incentive” in history. While the official announcement only took place on Earth Day, Elon Musk first announced his plans on the matter earlier in January.

Elon Musk open to putting up more money

The Tesla founder claimed, as well, that he is “open to putting more prize money” into the contest. He said that this may happen, especially “if there are stand-out teams in need of more money.”

Elon Musk continued that he was “moved” because such technologies will “take a while” to figure out. “You don’t want the cure to be worse than disease,” he added.

Featured Image courtesy of Tesla/YouTube

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