Elon Musk unveils details for $100m carbon removal competition

The four-year competition invites people to create carbon capture solutions that can scale to gigatonne level

Pathway to COP26 report

The details of a new four-year competition, which will award $50 million (£36.4m) for the best carbon removal solution, have been unveiled by Tesla’s Chief Executive Officer Elon Musk.

The competition that will offer cash prizes worth $100 million (£72.9m) in total, invites innovators and teams from any country to create and demonstrate solutions that can pull carbon dioxide directly from the atmosphere or oceans, scale to gigatonne level and lock away carbon dioxide permanently in an environmentally-friendly way.

Solutions will be scientifically evaluated across a range of criteria, including the amount of carbon dioxide removed, life cycle analysis of the removal process, energy efficiency, land footprint and sequestration capabilities.

The removal of at least one tonne of carbon dioxide per day and a minimum goal of storing carbon for at least 100 years are among the basic criteria for prototypes.

The organisation behind the competition said any carbon-negative solution is eligible, including direct air capture, mineralisation and oceans.

The 15 top teams are set to receive $1 million (£730,000) each, 18 months after the launch of the competition, which is funded by Elon Musk and the Musk Foundation.

Registrations will kick off on Earth Day, 22nd April and the competition will last through until Earth Day 2025.

Elon Musk, Co-Founder and Chief Executive Officer of Tesla, SpaceX, Neuralink and the Boring Company, said: “We want teams to build real systems that can make a measurable impact at a gigatonne level. Whatever it takes. Time is of the essence.”

If you enjoyed this story you can sign up to our weekly email for Energy Live News – and if you’re interested in hearing more about the journey to net zero by 2050, you can also sign up to the future Net Zero newsletter. 

Latest Podcast