Elon Musk’s $100 Million Carbon Capture Prize Will See 50% Go to First Place

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Last month, Elon Musk announced he would be ponying up $100 million in prize money to kickstart a competition for someone to create the best carbon capture technology.

As of today, details of the competition have been revealed, with Musk announcing it is being managed by non-profit XPrize, which specializes in designing and hosting competitions to benefit humanity.

The XPRIZE Carbon Removal competition says it “is aimed at tackling the biggest threat facing humanity — fighting climate change and rebalancing Earth’s carbon cycle.”

“Funded by Elon Musk and the Musk Foundation, this $100M competition is the largest incentive prize in history, an extraordinary milestone,” adds XPrize.

According to data, scientists estimate “we may need to remove as much as 6 gigatons of CO2 per year by 2030, and 10 gigatons per year by 2050 to avoid the worst effects of climate change.”

As for the XPrize competition, team registration will fittingly start on Earth Day, April 22, 2021. The competition is set to last four years through Earth Day in 2025.

“To win the competition, teams must demonstrate a rigorous, validated scale model of their carbon removal solution, and further must demonstrate to a team of judges the ability of their solution to economically scale to gigaton levels,” explains XPrize.

The working carbon removal prototype should be able to be “rigorously validated” and also capable of “removing at least 1 ton per day.”

Here is a breakdown of the $100 million USD prize purse, the largest incentive prize in history:

  • Grand Prize Winner (1st Place): $50M
  • 2nd Place: $20M
  • 3rd Place: $10M
  • 15 top teams selected will receive $1 million each
  • 25 x $200,000 student scholarships will be distributed to student teams competing

“We want teams to build real systems that can make a measurable impact at a gigaton level,” said Musk. “Whatever it takes. Time is of the essence,” he said in a statement.

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