The only thing better than a $100 million prize is when that prize is awarded for mitigating the effects of climate change. Elon Musk, CEO of SpaceX and Tesla, is offering a $100 million Carbon Removal X Prize to incentivize the development of carbon capture technology that can help fight climate change. The prize asks entrants to demonstrate new methods for removing large amounts of heat-trapping CO2 from the air or oceans and keep it locked away. Ultimately, the goal is to reach 10 gigatons per year of carbon removal by 2050.
Marcius Extavour, the president of climate and environment for the X prize, said in a statement, “It should be clear to everyone in 2021 that climate change poses an existential threat, and that our CO2 emissions are a leading cause. Even as we race to get to net zero, the climate math tells us that we must also accelerate the development and deployment of solutions that can be carbon negative. That’s what this prize is all about.”
The competition will last until 2025. However, after one year, judges will award 15 “milestone prizes” of $1 million each. Student teams are also being incentivized to participate with $5 million. The grand prize winner, selected in 2025, will receive $50 million, with $30 million being divided among three runner-up teams.