The Carbon Removal Competition, organized by XPRIZE and funded by Tesla & SpaceX CEO Elon Musk, which started on February 8, identified the top 15 teams and projects after 18 months. Musk's main goal is to fund a project that can effectively--and as cheaply as possible--remove CO₂ from the atmosphere, which will help in the fight against climate change.
It has been 18 months since the Carbon Removal Competition, organized by XPRIZE and the Musk Foundation, kicked off. The judges determined the first 15 teams will receive $1 million each. Ultimately, the top three teams will receive $10 million, $20 million, and $50 million for the third-, second-place and grand prize winners, respectively. The competition will last four years, and the winners will be announced in 2025.
In honor of Earth Day, XPRIZE and The Musk Foundation have announced 15 teams that have been designated as milestone winners in the $100M XPRIZE Carbon Removal competition. The list of winners include:
- Calcite from 8 Rivers Capital - U.S.
- Heirloom & Carbfix - U.S. & Iceland
- Project Hajar - U.K.
- Sustaera - U.S.
- Verdox & Carbfix - U.S. & Iceland
- Bioeconomy Institute Carbon Removal Team from Iowa State - U.S.
- Global Algae Innovations - U.S.
- PlantVillage from Penn State - U.S.
- Takachar & Safi Organics from University of British Columbia - Kenya
- Captura from California Institute of Technology - U.S.
- Marine Permaculture SeaForestation from the Climate Foundation - U.S., the Philippines & Australia
- Planetary - Canada
- Carbin Minerals from University of British Columbia, Vancouver - Canada
"The teams are pursuing a mix of known solutions and new approaches to carbon removal: ecosystem restoration, biochar, agricultural solutions, organic and inorganic ocean solutions, mineralization of mine tailings and naturally occurring minerals, direct air capture with geologic sequestration, agroforestry, soil carbon and more. Any solution is eligible to compete so long as it actually works, achieves net negative emissions, sequesters carbon dioxide durably over at least 100 years, and shows a sustainable path to ultimately achieving gigatonne scale," explains XPRIZE. They note that XPRIZE is not an ideas competition; it is an execution and demonstration competition.
Judges in the competition will evaluate the teams based upon four basic criteria:
- A working carbon removal prototype that can be rigorously validated and capable of removing at least 1 ton per day.
- The team's ability to demonstrate to the judges that their solution can economically scale to the gigaton level.
- The main metric for this competition is fully considered cost per ton, inclusive of whatever considerations are necessary for environmental benefit, permanence, any value-added products; and
- The final criteria is the length of time that the removed carbon is locked up for. A minimum goal of 100 years is desired.
CO₂ is one of the gases that creates the greenhouse effect, the second after water vapor. And CO₂ is the main gas whose atmospheric concentration is influenced by humans, as proven by isotopic analysis. The rise in the level of CO₂ in the atmosphere is leading our planet to critical and unpredictable climate change, which is why this problem must be resolved as soon as possible.
In an effort to improve this situation, Musk began developing products that could reduce CO₂ emissions on our planet. Having made an all-in bet, he created Tesla, a company whose mission is to accelerate the world's transition to sustainable energy, which should lead us to a dramatic reduction in CO₂ emissions into the atmosphere.
In an effort to continue developing the idea of improving the climate situation on Earth, in January 2021 Musk announced that he will donate $100M as a prize for the best carbon capture technology.
© 2022, Eva Fox | Tesmanian. All rights reserved.
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About the Author
Eva Fox joined Tesmanian in 2019 to cover breaking news as an automotive journalist. The main topics that she covers are clean energy and electric vehicles. As a journalist, Eva is specialized in Tesla and topics related to the work and development of the company.