After teasing it final month, Elon Musk has unveiled his $100 million XPrize competition with the lofty goal of eradicating carbon from the environment to assist stem local weather change. The competitors opens up immediately to groups around the globe and can run for 4 years.
In 18 months, judges will choose the highest 15 groups, every of which is able to obtain $1 million. On the identical time, $200,000 scholarships can be awarded to 25 separate scholar groups who enter. The highest three groups will obtain $10 million, $20 million and $50 million for the third-, second-place and grand prize winners, respectively.
Getting that cash gained’t be simple, although. The winners must develop expertise “that may pull carbon dioxide instantly from the environment or oceans and lock it away completely in an environmentally benign means,” the XPrize contest guidelines state. Judges are hoping to see an answer that may take away a ton of CO2 per day, with the power to scale that as much as tens of millions of tons.
“The world’s main scientists estimate that we could must take away as a lot as 6 gigatons of CO2 per yr by 2030, and 10 gigatons per yr by 2050 to keep away from the worst results of local weather change,” the XPrize web page states. “We want daring, radical tech innovation and scale up that goes past limiting CO2 emissions, however truly removes CO2 already within the air and oceans. If humanity continues on a business-as-usual path, the worldwide common temperature may enhance 6˚(C) by the yr 2100.”
Regardless of the guarantees of the Paris accord, atmospheric CO2 ranges proceed to speed up attributable to human actions — even though people are caught inside because of the COVID-19 pandemic. In consequence, sea ranges continue to rise whereas glaciers and icebergs soften. Simply this weekend, a Himalayan glacier that has receded considerably over the past 4 many years collapsed into a river in India, creating an avalanche that has killed a minimum of 19 folks to this point.
Curbing exhaust emissions from automobiles, properties and energy vegetation is a crucial motion, nevertheless it will not be sufficient — we would truly must take away the CO2 that’s already there. Nonetheless, carbon seize expertise remains to be a brand new concept and present options are costly. Proposed plans vary from scrubbing emissions from energy vegetation and storing them underground, to actually sucking in air, scrubbing out the CO2 and blowing it again into the environment (direct capture).
Thus far, the only technique is just planting timber — although it will require a lot of them to have a major impression on CO2 ranges. In any case, one thing needs to be executed so our grandkids gained’t be dwelling underwater, and Musk’s new XPrize could a minimum of kick off some good concepts. “We wish to make a very significant impression. Carbon negativity, not neutrality,” Musk said in an announcement.