US$100 Million XPrize Carbon Removal competition opens

XPrize, the global non-profit organisation that designs and implements innovative competition models to solve the world’s most pressing challenges, has unveiled the four-year US$100 Million XPrize Carbon Removal competition.

Featuring the largest incentive prize in history the global competition is sponsored by Elon Musk, CEO of SpaceX and Tesla, and the Musk Foundation.

The competition’s winners will be announced in 2025.

US$50 million will be paid to the single grand prize winner, while US$30 million will be distributed among up to three runners up.

Team registration and the competition guidelines are available here: xprize.org/carbonremoval

The competition aims to tackle climate change by asking global innovators to develop solutions that can pull carbon dioxide directly from the atmosphere or oceans and lock it away permanently in an environmentally benign method.

XPrize
US$50 million will be paid to the single grand prize winner, while US$30 million will be distributed among up to three runners up.

Peter H. Diamandis, XPrize Founder and Executive Chairman, and Elon Musk, CEO of SpaceX and Tesla, recently discussed on Twitter, the importance of spurring carbon removal solutions, the climate crisis, and the launch of the largest incentive prize in history.

The four-year XPrize global competition invites innovators and teams from anywhere on the planet 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 future.

Third party validation

All demonstrations must be validated by a third party.

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.

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

Teams can enter the competition at any stage.

XPrize is looking for the best solutions, whether they competed in earlier rounds or not.

After one year of competition the judges will review the progress of competitors at that time and award up to 15 Milestone Prizes of US$1 million each.

Student teams award

XPrize will also award up to US$5 million to student teams in the autumn of 2021.

These awards may fund participation in the XPrize Carbon Removal or the development of key supportive technologies.

In 2024, after developing their solutions, teams will be invited to apply to be considered as finalists, and be visited by XPrize to validate their solution’s performance in person.

The Musk Foundation creates grants that support renewable energy research and advocacy; human space exploration research and advocacy; pediatric research; science and engineering education; and development of safe artificial intelligence to benefit humanity.

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