A few weeks ago Elon Musk teased that he would be donating a staggering $100 million towards a prize for the development of the best carbon capture technology. We now finally have more details about the tweet, and it turns out Musk’s $100 million is funding the largest XPRIZE in history.
Am donating $100M towards a prize for best carbon capture technology
— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) January 21, 2021
XPRIZE has now officially announced a new carbon removal competition funded by Musk and the Musk Foundation. The aim of the competition is to come up with a scalable technology that can remove carbon from the Earth’s biosphere. The goal? To save humanity from the disastrous climate change that is already underway. As XPRIZE explains, participants must “create and demonstrate solutions that can pull carbon dioxide directly from the atmosphere or oceans ultimately scaling massively to gigaton levels, locking away CO2 permanently in an environmentally benign way.”
The four-year competition is open to anyone on the planet and the first place winner will receive $50 million, with the second- and third-place winners getting $20 million and $10 million, respectively. The remainder of the fund will be distributed to the 15 top teams and as student scholarships, too.
XPRIZE is a nonprofit foundation that holds cash-prize competitions for the development of technology that benefits humanity. Previous XPRIZE competitions have successfully resulted in new technologies ranging from suborbital spaceflights to those cleaning oil spills from the ocean. You can check out XPRIZE’s video announcing the competition below. For those interested in taking part in the competition, full details will be released on Earth Day, April 22, 2021.