Elon Musk Carbon Capture XPRIZE – 100 MILLION DOLLARS!

There is a point in some people’s lives that, having accumulated so much money,  they decide to give some back. Or maybe it’s just a way of repaying for the many headaches they gave to humanity. (Yes, Bill, I still have nightmares about Windows ME. The horror… The horror…)

So, the real-life Iron Man himself decided to shell out 100 million dollars for the cause.

The Problem

Unless you live in a cave, you’ve probably noticed that we’ve been pumping a lot of stuff into the atmosphere lately. And, while (directly) CO2 is not the most harmful industrial emission,  (indirectly) it’s setting us up for disaster.

Even though there are natural fluctuations, you can see that humankind has definitely had a big influence on CO2 emissions to the atmosphere, especially since the late 50’s.

In fact, we pour so much of it into the atmosphere that experts estimate that we’d need to remove about 10 gigatonnes of carbon dioxide per year by 2050 to meet the Paris Agreement goals of limiting Eart’s temperature increase to no more than 1.5º C above pre-industrial levels.

Failing to do so will eventually have a very noticeable impact on your life, even if that’s not so apparent right now. I’ll let these two upstanding gentlemen educate (and depress the heck out of) you on the subject:

Just in case you missed it, it’s already too obvious that something fishy is going on for some coastal/island nations.

The Solution

Tesla was created in order to “accelerate the world’s transition to sustainable energy”. This would reduce or eliminate the need to keep burning fossil fuels. However, that transition doesn’t seem to be coming along as fast as required. And Elon is only one man with two major companies and who knows how many more Boring side quests.

So, he decided to let other people step up to the challenge. Elon Musk is willing to give a handsome reward to whoever is willing to champion the carbon capture gauntlet, to the tune of 100 million dollars. In fact, he considers increasing the award if enough proposals demonstrate viability. What a big-heart-deep-pocket person.

To win the prize, the process must be carbon negative, scalable, and economically viable. So, if you can only set up one rig that burns 10 kilos of wood to capture 10 grams of CO2 from the atmosphere, most like you will not wet your beak.

The Rules – Carbon Capture XPRIZE

Interestingly, XPRIZE starts the process by publishing a set of guidelines and waiting for feedback from amateurs and experts alike. After a while, they consolidate all the constructive ideas and polish the guidelines off into more what you’d call rules. This is actually a pretty neat way of democratizing the competition setup. Wish some governments would rule the same way…

XPRIZE Guidelines

Have a look at the PDF below if you want a more in-depth knowledge of the Carbon Capture XPRIZE.

Additionally, check out these videos from XPRIZE breaking down the carbon capture concept. The last one is a long one where Elon goes more into detail about the whys and the hows.

For more information about the Elon Musk Carbon Capture Xprize, have a look at the blog on the XPRIZE website. Also, feel free to leave some feedback about the guidelines.

Meanwhile, keep in touch for more news.



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