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Elon Musk launches $100 million Xprize competition

(Image credit: spaceX)

The world's richest man, Elon Musk, is looking to $100-million into tech projects that essentially help the environment, by removing carbon dioxide from the atmosphere.

The competition will be held through the Xprize Foundation, a nonprofit group that has held similar competitions to encourage technology development that improves space travel, health and food.

XPRIZE Carbon Removal is aimed at tackling the biggest threat facing humanity — fighting climate change and rebalancing Earth’s carbon cycle. Funded by Elon Musk and the Musk Foundation, this $100M competition is the largest incentive prize in history, an extraordinary milestone.

The Musk Foundation is also a nonprofit. 

“Carbon negativity, not neutrality,” Musk said in a statement. “This is not a theoretical competition… Whatever it takes. Time is of the essence.”

Entries to the competition will open on Earth Day, April 22. Winners will be announced on the same day in 2025.

The hefty prize money will be split to give three winners the chance to bring their tech to fruition. The first prize is $50-million, second prize is $20-million and third prize is $10-million.

'This four-year 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 ultimately scaling massively to gigaton levels, locking away CO2 permanently in an environmentally benign way,' said the Xprize Foundation.

Solutions will be scientifically evaluated across multiple criteria such as; the amount of CO2 removed, life cycle analysis of the removal process, energy efficiency, land footprint and sequestration capabilities.

How to enter

Any carbon negative solution is eligible: nature-based, direct air capture, oceans, mineralization, or anything else that sequesters CO2 permanently. 

Team registration opens with the announcement of the full competition guidelines on Earth Day, April 22nd 2021. The competition will last for 4 years through Earth Day 2025.

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