The largest incentive award in history was announced this month to inspire innovators to develop and scale carbon removal solutions that combat climate change.
The nonprofit XPRIZE, which sponsors design competitions to solve humanity’s greatest challenges, will award $ 100,000,000 for the top 3 carbon removal innovations.
The contest, funded by Elon Musk, looks for the best solutions that can extract carbon dioxide directly from the atmosphere or the oceans and lock it in permanently in an environmentally benign way. To win the competition, teams must demonstrate a rigorous and validated scale model of their solution at a carbon removal level of 1 tonne CO2 per day, and must also demonstrate to a team of judges the ability of their solution to scale. economically to gigatons. levels.
The goal of this XPRIZE is to “collectively achieve the carbon removal target of 10 gigatons per year by 2050, to help combat climate change and restore the Earth’s carbon balance.”
“We want to have a truly significant impact. Carbon negativity, not neutrality. The ultimate goal is scalable carbon extraction that is measured based on the ‘cost per ton fully considered’ that includes environmental impact, “he said. Elon musk, founder and CEO of Tesla and SpaceX. “This is not a theoretical competition; We want teams that build real systems that can have a measurable impact and scale to a gigaton level. Whatever is needed. Time is of the essence
Peter Diamandis, Founder and CEO of XPRIZE He said: “We want to see them built, tested and validated. We hope this XPRIZE will activate the public and private sectors to get involved in the same way that the $ 10M Ansari XPRIZE sparked the commercial spaceflight industry. “
“For humanity to achieve the Paris Agreement goal of limiting the Earth’s temperature rise to no more than 1.5 ° C from pre-industrial levels, or even 2 ° C, we need radical and bold technological innovation and an extension that goes beyond limiting CO2 emissions, but actually removes the CO2 already in the air and oceans. If humanity continues on the usual path, the global average temperature could rise 6 ° C by the year 2100. “
Full competition guidelines will be announced on April 22, 2021, which is also Earth Day. That same day the team registration will begin and the competition will last 4 years until Earth Day 2025.
The $ 100 million in prize money will be distributed as follows, under these guidelines:
The top 15 teams selected will receive $ 1 million each, and the $ 80 million prizes will be distributed as follows: Grand prize winner (first place) wins $ 50 million, second place takes home $ 20 million and third place receives $ 10 million.
A total of twenty-five student scholarships of $ 200,000 will also be distributed to competing teams of students.
Teams can submit tickets through natural, engineered, and hybrid solutions. The competition judges will evaluate the teams based on four basic criteria:
- A working carbon removal prototype that can be rigorously validated and can remove at least 1 tonne per day.
- The team’s ability to demonstrate to the judges that their solution can economically scale to the gigaton level.
- The main metric for this competition is considered the cost per ton in its entirety, including the necessary considerations for the environmental benefit, permanence, any value-added product; Y
- The final criterion is the period of time during which the extracted coal is blocked. A minimum goal of 100 years is desired.
“The changing climate of our Earth is a fundamental threat to humanity. But it is not too late if we act NOW, ”said Anousheh Ansari, CEO of XPRIZE. By partnering with Elon and the Musk Foundation, the XPRIZE Carbon Removal competition is inviting teams to make history and become our climate heroes by reshaping our future.
The group considers it a great fit for carbon removal because there are many ways to extract CO2 from the air and from our oceans. “We expect to see approaches such as engineered direct air capture, enhanced mineralization and weathering, natural plant-based solutions, trees, or ocean-centric solutions. We want so many viable scalable demos now so that we can all help get the best solutions deployed as soon as possible. “
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