Fifteen early-phase “milestone round” winners from the Elon Musk-funded $100 million XPRIZE Carbon Removal competition were announced on Friday. Each of the winning teams will be receiving $1 million, which should provide the teams a notable boost to scale their work.
The XPRIZE Carbon Removal competition was launched to encourage the development of innovative techniques that can help reduce atmospheric carbon dioxide. The $100 million carbon capture prize, while provided by Elon Musk through the Musk Foundation, would be managed by XPRIZE, a nonprofit organization.
The global carbon removal competition was launched last year, and it’s expected to last four years. The grand prize winner of the competition is expected to be announced in April 2025. It should be noted that the recently-announced milestone winners are not necessarily favored to win the competition’s final prize. Interested groups may also join the competition until December 2023.
The winners of the $1 million “milestone round” proposed a number of novel innovations that could help remove carbon from the air. Planetary Technologies from Dartmouth, Nova Scotia, for example, suggested the utilization of antacids produced from the leftovers of metal mining to make the ocean more capable of absorbing greenhouse gases.
Planetary Technologies CEO Mike Kelland expressed his appreciation of his team’s accomplishment. “What we’ve said is you haven’t given us a million bucks; what you’ve done is catalyzed investment in this technology,” he noted.
Calcite from 8 Rivers Capital from Durham, North Carolina aims to trap atmospheric carbon dioxide in calcium carbonate crystals, a process that is not unlike how gas dissolved in the ocean aids in the formation of seashells and limestone. California-based Global Algae, on the other hand, seeks to cultivate algae to help restore rainforests.
The winning team or teams of the XPRIZE Carbon Removal initiative must accomplish a number of targets to earn the competition’s final prize. For one, they must demonstrate that their innovations are capable of removing 1,000 metric tons of carbon dioxide from the atmosphere annually. They must also show much it would cost to remove up to 1 million metric tons of carbon per year. Lastly, they must show a path towards the removal of billions of tons of carbon dioxide per year.
The following teams are the 15 winners of the XPRIZE Carbon Removal competition’s “milestone round.”
*Quotes courtesy of ABC News.
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