Teams Begin Testing in the Final Stage of the $1.4 Million Wendy Schmidt Oil Cleanup X CHALLENGE

Ten finalist teams will test their oil spill cleanup technologies at the OHMSETT facility in Leonardo, N.J. 


Leonardo, N.J. (July 28, 2011) – The X PRIZE Foundation, the leading nonprofit organization solving the world's Grand Challenges by creating and managing large-scale, global incentivized competitions, began the field testing phase of the $1.4 million Wendy Schmidt Oil Cleanup X CHALLENGE on July 22 at the OHMSETT - The National Oil Spill Response Research & Renewable Energy Test Facility in Leonardo, NJ. OHMSETT is a Bureau of Ocean Energy Management, Regulation, and Enforcement (BOEMRE) facility and is the largest outdoor saltwater wave/tow facility inNorth America. Developed in July 2010 in the wake of the deepwater horizon spill, this X CHALLENGE is designed to inspire entrepreneurs, engineers, and scientists worldwide to develop innovative, rapidly deployable, and highly efficient methods of capturing crude oil from the ocean surface.

“The X PRIZE Foundation and our expert panel of judges are eager to see these innovative technologies at work during the testing phase of this competition,” said Cristin Dorgelo Lindsay, Vice President of Prize Operations for the X PRIZE Foundation. “We look forward to seeing these technological advancements having a positive and significant impact on future oil cleanup efforts and better protect our ocean ecosystems and economies.”

Teams are scheduled to test their equipment individually over a 10 week period. The teams will be overseen by an experienced panel of judges as they demonstrate their technology’s ability to recover oil on the sea-water surface.  The team who displays the highest oil recovery rate (ORR) above 2,500 gallons per minute with an oil recovery efficiency (ORE) of greater than 70% will win the $1 million Grand Prize. Second place will win $300,000 and third place will win $100,000.

Shell, the only industry participant, in an effort to ensure that advancing technologies emerge and are introduced into the marketplace, has pledged its support and collaboration to the Wendy Schmidt Oil Cleanup X CHALLENGE.  As part of this ongoing association, Shell is assisting with direct support for the technical, operational and scientific components of the Competition, creating a valued partnership within the X PRIZE Foundation.

One team and one judge will be at OHMSETT during each week of testing in the Wendy Schmidt Oil Cleanup X CHALLENGE. The schedule is as follows:

  • 7/22-8/3: Vor-Tek (California) and Judge John Joe Dec, retired U.S. Coast Guard hazardous substance spill response professional
  • 7/29-8/10: Pacific Petroleum Recovery (PPR) (Washington) and Judge Dave Westerholm, director of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration's Office of Response and Restoration
  • 8/5-8/17: OilShaver (Norway) and Judge Peter K. Velez, global emergency response manager for Shell International Exploration and Production
  • 8/12-8/24: Elastec (Illinois) and Judge Skip Przelomski, vice president and senior technical advisor of the Clean Caribbean & Americas (CCA)
  • 8/19-8/31: CRUCIAL (Louisiana) and Judge Hung Nguyen of the U.S. Department of the Interior, Bureau of Ocean Energy Management, Regulation and Enforcement (BOEMRE)
  • 8/26-9/8: NOFI (Norway) and Judge Eugene Johnson, retired U.S. Coast Guard captain and former chief of marine safety for the Fifth U.S. Coast Guard District
  • 9/1-9/14: Voraxial (Florida) and Judge Donald A. Toenshoff, Jr., executive vice president of the Marine Spill Response Corporation
  • 9/9-9/21: Koseq (Netherlands) and Judge John Joe Dec, retired U.S. Coast Guard hazardous substance spill response professional
  • 9/16-9/28: Lamor (Finland) and Judge Skip Przelomski, vice president and senior technical advisor of the Clean Caribbean & Americas (CCA)
  • 9/23-10/5: OilWhale (Finland) and Judge Dennis Takahashi-Kelso, director of science and policy direction for the Ocean Conservancy

The winners of the Wendy Schmidt Oil Cleanup X CHALLENGE will be announced at an Award Ceremony in October.  This competition is part of the X PRIZE Foundation’s Energy & Environment Prize Group presented by Cisco.

ABOUT THE WENDY SCHMIDT OIL CLEANUP X CHALLENGE
The $1.4 million Wendy Schmidt Oil Cleanup X CHALLENGE is a competition designed to inspire a new generation of innovative solutions that will speed the pace of cleaning up seawater surface oil resulting from spillage from ocean platforms, tankers, and other sources.  It is a one-year competition with head-to-head competitive demonstrations taking place at the OHMSETT - National Oil Spill Response Research & Renewable Energy Test Facility in Leonardo, NJ, USA(www.ohmsett.com).  A $1 million prize will be awarded to the team that demonstrates the ability to recover oil on the sea surface at the highest oil recovery rate (ORR) and the highest Oil Recovery Efficiency (ORE). For more information, visit www.iprizecleanoceans.org

ABOUT THE X PRIZE FOUNDATION
Founded in 1995, the X PRIZE Foundation is the leading nonprofit organization solving the world’s Grand Challenges by creating and managing large-scale, high-profile, incentivized prize competitions that stimulate investment in research and development worth far more than the prize itself.  The organization motivates and inspires brilliant innovators from all disciplines to leverage their intellectual and financial capital for the benefit of humanity.  The X PRIZE Foundation conducts competitions in four Prize Groups: Education & Global Development; Energy & Environment; Life Sciences; and Exploration (Ocean and Deep Space).  Prizes won include the $10 million Ansari X PRIZE for private, suborbital space flight; the $10 million Progressive Insurance Automotive X PRIZE for creating safe, affordable, production-capable vehicles that exceed 100 MPG energy equivalent (MPGe); and the $2 million Northrop Grumman Lunar Lander X PRIZE CHALLENGE for advanced rocket development. Active prizes include the $30 million Google Lunar X PRIZE, the $10 million Archon Genomics X PRIZE, and the $1.4 million Wendy Schmidt Oil Cleanup X CHALLENGE.  For more information, visit www.xprize.org.

ABOUT WENDY SCHMIDT
Wendy Schmidt is President of The Schmidt Family Foundation that works to advance the development of clean energy and support the wiser use of natural resources. She is founder of the foundation’s 11th Hour Project and of Climate Central. Her other work, at ReMain Nantucket, focuses on generating a model for smart community downtown development on the island. With her husband, Eric, Wendy created the Schmidt Ocean Institute in 2009 to provide future opportunities aboard research vessels for urgent ocean studies. Wendy earned an M.A. in Journalism from The University of California at Berkeley, and a B.A. magna cum laude from Smith College. She serves on the boards of GRIST, The Nantucket Dreamland Foundation, The Natural Resources Defense Council, The California Academy of Sciences, and The Cradle to Cradle Products Innovation Institute.

ABOUT CISCO
Cisco, (NASDAQ: CSCO), sponsor of the X PRIZE Foundation’s Energy & Environment Prize Group, is the worldwide leader in networking that transforms how people connect, communicate and collaborate.  This year celebrates 25 years of technology innovation, operational excellence and corporate social responsibility. Information about Cisco can be found at www.cisco.com. For ongoing news, go to http://newsroom.cisco.com

Media Contact:
Alan Zack
alan.zack@xprize.org
(310) 741-4880

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