Applications are open for the XPRIZE Carbon Removal Competition 2021. The 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 climate math is becoming clear that we will need gigaton-scale carbon removal in the coming decades to avoid the worst effects of climate change. The International Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) estimates the need at approximately 10 gigatonnes of net CO2 removal per year by the year 2050 in order to keep global temperature rise under 1.5 or 2C. As governments, companies, investors, and entrepreneurs make plans to meet this challenge, it is clear that we will need a range of carbon removal solutions to be proven through demonstration and deployment to complement work that is already underway. If humanity continues on a business-as-usual path, the global average temperature could increase 6˚(C) by the year 2100.
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, and sequester it durably and sustainably. To win the grand prize, teams must demonstrate a working solution at a scale of at least 1000 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.
After 1 year of competition the judges will review all submissions received by that time and award up to 15 Milestone Prizes of $1 million each. At the discretion of the judges, these awards may be granted on a conditional basis, subject to the team’s demonstrated commitment to continuing to develop and advance their solutions and to compete for the Grand Prize.
After 4 years, judges will select the winners:
- $50 million paid to the single Grand Prize Winner
- $30 million to be distributed among up to 3 runners up
XPRIZE will also award up to US$5M to student teams in the Fall of 2021. These awards may fund participation in the XPRIZE Carbon Removal or the development of key supportive technologies.
- Any carbon negative solution is eligible: nature-based, direct air capture, oceans, mineralization, or anything else that achieves net negative emissions, sequesters CO2 durably, and show a sustainable path to achieving low cost at gigatonne scale.
- XPRIZE believes that solutions can come from anyone, anywhere: Scientists, engineers, 167 academics, entrepreneurs, and other innovators from all over the world are invited to form a 168 team and register to compete.
Team registration will remain open throughout the prize. The following deadlines apply:
- Registration for the Student Awards will close October 1, 2021 18:59:59 UTC
- Registration for the Milestone Awards will close December 1, 2021 18:59:59 UTC
- Registration for the Grand Prize will close December 1, 2023 18:59:59 UTC