15 teams from nine countries take home $1M Milestone awards in next stage of $100M XPRIZE Carbon Removal competition to innovate and scale solutions to fight climate change
LOS ANGELES (April 22, 2022) – XPRIZE, the leader in prize competitions to accelerate breakthroughs that benefit humanity, and the Musk Foundation announced today in celebration of Earth Day, that 15 teams have been designated as milestone winners in the $100M XPRIZE Carbon Removal competition. Each of the 15 milestone winning teams has been awarded $1M to recognize their efforts to date and support their continued work to scale solutions. The overall winners will be awarded $80M in 2025.
The XPRIZE Carbon Removal competition was launched to encourage carbon removal innovators to work on tackling the biggest threat facing humanity: fighting climate change and rebalancing Earth’s carbon cycle. This $100M competition, funded by Elon Musk and the Musk Foundation, is the largest incentive prize in history and the XPRIZE Carbon Removal teams represent the largest collection of innovators working on carbon removal. The milestone winners are representing Australia, Canada, France, Iceland, Kenya, the Netherlands, the Philippines, the United Kingdom and the United States. Unlike previous prizes, every team is still eligible to compete and win the grand prize.
The teams are pursuing a mix of known solutions and new approaches to carbon removal: ecosystem restoration, biochar, agricultural solutions, organic and inorganic ocean solutions, mineralization of mine tailings and naturally occurring minerals, direct air capture with geologic sequestration, agroforestry, soil carbon and more. Any solution is eligible to compete so long as it actually works, achieves net negative emissions, sequesters carbon dioxide durably over at least 100 years, and shows a sustainable path to ultimately achieving gigatonne scale. Crucially, the XPRIZE is not an ideas competition; it is an execution and demonstration competition. The submission process was extremely demanding by design, with a field of 1,133 teams narrowed to 287 teams meeting the eligibility criteria for the milestone awards. 70 expert reviewers screened and ranked the inbound proposals for scientific validity, and selected the top 60 teams. Judges went deeper on operations plans, performance data, life cycle analysis and cost estimates in order to ultimately select the top 15 teams taking home the interim $1M Milestone Awards.
“One year in, we already see the positive impact of the prize: hundreds of groups working on a wide range of promising carbon removal solutions. Not just ideas, but development and deployment plans, which is exactly what we need. The pace and depth of initiatives in carbon removal and other crucial climate solutions has never been greater, but we still need more—more and deeper emissions cuts, and more reliable, validated carbon removal solutions. That’s why we launched this prize in the first place,” stated Dr. Marcius Extavour, chief scientist and vice president of climate and environment at XPRIZE.
The 15 milestone winners, listed by primary solution type, include:
- Calcite from 8 Rivers Capital - U.S.
- Carbyon - Netherlands
- Heirloom & Carbfix - U.S. & Iceland
- Project Hajar - U.K.& Oman
- Sustaera - U.S.
- Verdox & Carbfix - U.S. & Iceland
- Bioeconomy Institute Carbon Removal Team from Iowa State - U.S.
- Global Algae Innovations - U.S.
- NetZero - France
- PlantVillage from Penn State - U.S.
- Takachar & Safi Organics from University of British Columbia - Kenya
- Captura from California Institute of Technology - U.S.
- Marine Permaculture SeaForestation from the Climate Foundation - U.S., the Philippines & Australia
- Planetary - Canada
- Carbin Minerals from University of British Columbia, Vancouver - Canada
The competition now completely resets before the remaining $80M prize purse is awarded in 2025. Any team is eligible to win, whether they participated in this Milestone Round or not. Registration is open for any team interested in joining the competition to compete for the Grand Prizes. Registration closes on December 1, 2023. To win the Grand Prize, teams must demonstrate a working solution at a scale of at least 1,000 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, as validated by a third party. The Grand Prize winner and runners up will be announced on Earth Day 2025.
For more information on XPRIZE Carbon Removal, please visit xprize.org/carbonremoval.
XPRIZE is a global future-positive movement, delivering truly radical breakthroughs for the benefit of humanity. XPRIZE inspires and empowers a global community of problem-solvers to positively impact our world by crowdsourcing solutions through large-scale competitions, tackling the world’s grandest challenges in exploration, environment and human equity. Active competitions include the $100 Million XPRIZE Carbon Removal with Elon Musk, $15 Million XPRIZE Feed the Next Billion, $10 Million XPRIZE Rainforest, $10 Million ANA Avatar XPRIZE, $5 Million XPRIZE Rapid Reskilling, and $1 Million Digital Learning Challenge. Donate, sign up or join a team at xprize.org.
About The Musk Foundation
The Musk Foundation creates grants made in support of: renewable energy research and advocacy; human space exploration research and advocacy; pediatric research; science and engineering education; and development of safe artificial intelligence to benefit humanity.