XPRIZE launches $100 million carbon removal challenge, backed by Musk Foundation


XPRIZE is launching a $100 million carbon removal competition that is funded by Tesla chairman Elon Musk’s foundation.

The four-year global competition invites innovators and teams to create and demonstrate solutions that can pull carbon dioxide directly from the atmosphere or oceans.

To win the grand prize, teams must demonstrate a working solution at a scale of at least 1,000 tonnes removed per year; model their costs at a scale of 1 million tonnes per year; and show a pathway to achieving a scale of gigatonnes per year in the future. All demonstrations must be validated by a third party.

The challenge includes funding from Elon Musk’s foundation.

Image: Wikimedia Commons/Duncan Hall

In the first of two competition phases, teams must demonstrate the key component of their carbon removal solutions at smaller scale, not the full operating solution. Fully operational solutions are required to win.

The organizers said that any carbon negative solution is eligible: nature-based, direct air capture, oceans, mineralization, or anything else that achieves net negative emissions, sequesters CO2 durably, and shows a sustainable path to ultimately achieving gigatonne scale.

Teams may enter the competition at any stage. After a year of competition the judges will review the progress of competitors and award up to 15 Milestone Prizes of $1 million each.

XPRIZE will also award up to $5M to student teams in the fall of 2021. These awards may fund participation in the competition itself or the development of supporting technologies.

In 2024, after developing their solutions, teams will apply to be considered as finalists. Winners will be selected in 2025, including $50 million paid to the single Grand Prize Winner, $30 million to be distributed among up to three runners-up.

More information is here.

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