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X Prize Foundation Announces $10 Million Oil Disaster Cleanup Challenge

Gulf oil spill cleanup

Have an innovative solution to clean up the BP oil disaster in the Gulf? Now's your chance to be heard—and make some money in the process. At the TEDxOilSpill conference this morning, Francis Beland, VP, Prize Development at the X Prize Foundation announced a sweet incentive for figuring out a way to mop up BP's mess: a $10 million X Prize.

The prize is a testament to the difficulty of stopping the oil spill—similarly large X Prizes have been offered for DNA sequencing technology, fuel-efficient vehicles, and robotic moon missions. No word yet on requirements for winners, but Beland is already soliciting suggestions at Details will be announced in the coming weeks.

This is a prime opportunity for anyone who has tried (and failed) to reach BP directly with potential disaster fixes. And with the oil leak growing by the day—oil and tar balls reached Mississippi beaches for the first time today—there is little time to waste.

Of course, no one's yet said whether BP has agreed to let the winner actually try and fix the leak (we contacted the X Prize Foundation and have not yet received a response), so this could just be the 909th thing BP ignores.


Read more about the Gulf Oil Spill

Got information on the spill you want to share? Email us at It'll go directly to the lead reporter and editor on these stories, and they'll assume all initial communication to be strictly confidential.

Ariel Schwartz can be reached on Twitter or by email.

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  • Don Gatling

    Mystery Man that help BP/HORIZON I am from DC/MD. but when I was watching this news program, about the GULF OF MEXICO HAD A BAD OIL SPILLING, and I saw that our waters was at bad risk and people/creatures from air to land and sea, most were dying, and so I had to come up with many plans goals to help, bp/horizon in the gulf, many people needing more help from outside, so me and my family started PRAYING, to ALMIGHTYGOD AND ASKING LORD JESUS HOLYONE AND HIS HOST OF ANGLES TO HELP US, TO FIX THIS MAD CASE OF OIL PUSHING OUT LIKE HELL, was also stronger than many wells, I got right on the job, my ideas got the real credit, ALL MY NEW IDEAS THAT WAS USED, DATA HAS ALL THE TRUE HISTORY, AND MANY MIGHT KNOW THE REAL DEAL TRUTHS ON ALL THE NEW INNOVATIONS THAT COME TO PLAY APART IN REAL TIMMING, no rewards, BUT I WILL SAY THANK'S TO ALMIGHTYGOD FOR BLESSING ME TO SHOW WHAT HE HAD FOR ME TO DO, I AM BLESS FROM HEAVEN, TO HELP OUR WORLD, ALMIGHTYGOD IS CREDIT FOR ME

  • DON GG

    MYSTERY PLUMBER) did not get any( PRIZE MONEY YET) for  my newly innovations on FULL  CONTAINMENT SYSTEMS, Containment Domes/Boom/ Tophat/ Containment cap and my list has more back up ideas and plans  and goals that all  is and was new innovations, that came into glean testing by US Coast Guard and got a green light and made it in, and now all my newly concept ideas  became newly  innovations and working models over in the gulf oil spill in  late April, May/ Jun/July,  Iam the original innovator that is behind the first 3 containment dome ideas and the first boom and the first top hat and the first under water robotic vehicles, and my all my ideas have real deal proof and they are all in bp/horizon and there is more of my back ideas that professor robert bea /gov innocentive, and inpex got my information and bp/horizon and team members inside and out side of bp/horizon took down my  information and bp/horizon and the professor robert bea and the us gov /and the us coast guard all have my data on file and drawing on many of my newly cfull containment systems/ to pipes to controls vales  to  connecting small containment caps to containment ships and my list has 10 new   concepts to computers to remote controls robotic vehicles and they bare still  know credit for me but all my ideas came to light and all working concept model to under water vacuum cleaners and to designing a much larger ship to work on fixing and building other remote concepts on ship right out on sea /ocean, all my newly concepts and ideas  and innovations comes  from a higher beam   AlmightyGod and now thier are many joes and jokers want to cash in on my original plans that has been sent over to bp/horizon and some of there team member  that was working for bp/horizon or just for them self's and  I  have been IN WATCH everyday,  and  thier are many or some real experts really know the real truth about  who's who ideas that came in and locations where the ideas /innovations /concepts/ come from , there are many getting on news and saying many fales things and telling  the public that they came up  with my ideas and plans and names  all they are doing is using my line and my innovations just to see can they slip in on my newly ideas and i even got calls from some people asking me was i don g gatling and that they was going to patent  and copy right my ideas and take claim i need others to step up  with me to knock these type of liers out of the real truths  its  got to stop, RIGHT NOW ALMIGHTYGOD  IS MY FIRST  ORIGINAL WITTINESS, IN ALL MY DATA THAT BP/HORIZON/US. GOV/ AND INNOCENTIVE AND INPEX AND PROFESSOR ROBERT BEA,   

  • Susan Besemer

    I had hoped that the government would offer a prize to the oil company who could fix it --- a right to take over BPs leases in the US. That might stir some good competition.

    And I think that it's time that we stop calling it a "spill." A spill is a bit of something on the kitchen floor. This is a disaster!

  • Robert Ezekiel

    This is just good old fashion American ingenuity. Have a problem? Have an incentive to solve it - potential to make a lot of money? We will get'er done. My bet is someone from this contest solves the issue before BP does

  • michael

    The use of saw dust and kittylitter has been a mainstay for cleaning oil spills in garages by mechanics for years.

  • DailyReusables

    This is great! Unfortunately BP just isn't getting it done and from a couple of things I have read, the casing down the hole is compromised. If that's the case and something happens, it could get a lot worse before it gets better. Lets stop hoping and really work on the problem.

  • Christopher Harris

    A British firm may end up winning this prize. Here's the piece (with a video segment) that talks about how this firm has repurposed some British military technology to address the oil spill in the gulf. They plan on partnering with local gulf fishermen to equip boats with their technology and anticipate that after their launch on July 4th, that it will take about 7 weeks for them to get 100% of the oil that is on the surface down to 1.5 meters cleaned up. Pretty amazing.