Despite appearances, Elon Musk is not only interested in colonizing Mars. The head of Tesla and SpaceX also wants to preserve life on Earth, threatened by global warming. It is launching a $ 100 million idea contest to reduce some of the carbon emissions.
Elon Musk attended Earth Day this week to lift the veil on XPRIZE, a $ 100 million ideas contest funded by the Musk Foundation and donors. The principle is simple on paper: find a way to capture and remove at least 1,000 tons of CO2 released by human activity each year. Knowing that we produce 50 billion tons every year …
A unique challenge
For temperatures to rise by just one or two degrees, about 10 gigatons of CO2 would need to be removed per year by 2050. Recognizing the scale of the challenge, the competition gives innovators and creators four years to find a long-lasting and sustainable solution. The selected project must also be able to capture up to one million tons of carbon dioxide per year. The solution must be both technical (based on natural processes, direct capture in the air or oceans, mineralization, etc.) and economic.
The idea is to develop an economic model to reduce costs per gigaton of CO2. A challenge, but also an exciting challenge: after all, we are talking about saving the only planet in our power. The contest has several stages: after one year, the judges will review the submitted projects and award 15 of them with a prize of one million dollars.
After four years, the judges will decide the winners: $ 50 million will be paid to the winning project, $ 30 million for the next three. Starting this fall, XPRIZE will reward teams of students who have worked on the project with a total of $ 5 million.